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Invited Commentary
Nov 26, 2012

Journey to Eliminating Health Care Disparities: The Urgency of Affirming Values Within Our Patients, Profession, Health Care System, and Society: Comment on “The Effect of Values Affirmation on Race-Discordant Patient-Provider Communication”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Disparities, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (Dr Cooper); and Department of Humanities, Howard Community College, Columbia, Maryland (Dr Barnes).

Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(21):1667-1669. doi:10.1001/2013.jamainternmed.266

The role of the patient-physician relationship in perpetuating or mitigating health care disparities has been a topic of intense and increasing interest in the past decade.1 Research on the influence of race and ethnicity on the patient-physician relationship has evolved from studies using patient and physician surveys to studies incorporating objective measures of communication in clinical encounters. Some studies focus on visits where ethnic minority patients are seen by physicians of a different race or ethnicity, in so-called race-discordant relationships; others go beyond race and ethnicity to examine the influences of differences between patients and physicians with regard to other social dimensions, such as age, gender, education, and personal values.2,3 Recently, researchers have begun to test interventions to improve partnership between physicians and ethnic minority patients.4

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