The objective of this study was to examine associations between specific dimensions of the multidimensional cumulative risk index (CRI) and asthma morbidity in urban, school-aged children from African American, Latino and Non-Latino White backgrounds. An additional goal of the study was to identify the proportion of families that qualify for high-risk status on each dimension of the CRI by ethnic group. A total of 264 children with asthma, ages 7–15 (40% female; 76% ethnic minority) and their primary caregivers completed interview-based questionnaires assessing cultural, contextual, and asthma-specific risks that can impact asthma morbidity. Higher levels of asthma-related risks were associated with more functional morbidity for all groups of children, despite ethnic group background. Contextual and cultural risk dimensions contributed to more morbidity for African-American and Latino children. Analyses by Latino ethnic subgroup revealed that contextual and cultural risks are significantly related to more functional morbidity for Puerto Rican children compared to Dominican children. Findings suggest which type of risks may more meaningfully contribute to variations in asthma morbidity for children from specific ethnic groups. These results can inform culturally sensitive clinical interventions for urban children with asthma whose health outcomes lag far behind their non-Latino White counterparts.
Pediatric asthma; Cumulative risks; Ethnic minority; Urban
Children living in urban environments have many risk factors for disrupted sleep, including environmental disturbances, stressors related to ethnic minority status, and higher rates of stress and anxiety. Asthma can further disrupt sleep in children, but little research has examined the effects of missed sleep on asthma morbidity.
To examine the associations among missed sleep, asthma-related quality of life (QoL), and indicators of asthma morbidity in urban children with asthma from Latino, African American, and non-Latino white backgrounds. Given the importance of anxiety as a trigger for asthma symptoms and the link between anxiety and disrupted sleep, the associations among anxiety, asthma morbidity indicators, and missed sleep were also tested.
Parents of 147 children ages 6 to 13 years completed measures of asthma morbidity and missed sleep, parental QoL, and child behavior.
Higher reports of missed sleep were related to more frequent school absences, more activity limitations, and lower QoL across the sample. The associations between missed sleep and asthma morbidity were stronger for Latino children compared with non-Latino white and African American children. For children with higher anxiety, the associations between missed sleep and asthma morbidity were stronger than for children with lower anxiety.
Results offer preliminary support for missed sleep as a contributor to daily functioning of children with asthma in urban neighborhoods. Missed sleep may be more relevant to Latino families. Furthermore, anxiety may serve as a link between sleep and asthma morbidity because higher anxiety may exacerbate the effects of disrupted sleep on asthma.
Rationale: Disparities in pediatric asthma exist in that Latino children have higher prevalence and greater morbidity from asthma than non–Latino white children. The factors behind these disparities are poorly understood, but ethnic-related variations in children's ability to accurately recognize and report their pulmonary functioning may be a contributing process.
Objectives: To determine (1) if differences exist between Latino and non–Latino white children's perceptual accuracy and (2) whether these differences are related to asthma outcomes.
Methods: Five hundred and twelve children, aged 7–16 years (290 island Puerto Ricans, 115 Rhode Island Latinos, and 107 Rhode Island non-Latino white children) participated in a 5-week home-based protocol in which twice daily they entered subjective estimates of their peak expiratory flow rate into a hand-held, programmable spirometer and then performed spirometry. Their accuracy was summarized as three perceptual accuracy scores. Demographic data, asthma severity, intelligence, emotional expression, and general symptom-reporting tendencies were assessed and covaried in analyses of the relationship of perceptual accuracy to asthma morbidity and health care use.
Measurements and Main Results: Younger age, female sex, lower intelligence, and poverty were associated with lower pulmonary function perception scores. Island Puerto Rican children had the lowest accuracy and highest magnification scores, followed by Rhode Island Latinos; both differed significantly from non–Latino white children. Perceptual accuracy scores were associated with most indices of asthma morbidity.
Conclusions: Controlling for other predictive variables, ethnicity was related to pulmonary function perception ability, as Latino children were less accurate than non–Latino white children. This difference in perceptual ability may contribute to recognized asthma disparities.
childhood asthma; symptom recognition; disparities
Disparities in asthma outcomes exist between Latino and non-Latino white (NLW) children. We examined rates of medication use, medication beliefs, and perceived barriers to obtaining medication in US and island Puerto Rican parents of children with asthma
Island PR parents would report the lowest rates of controller medication use, followed by RI Latino and RI NLW parents; Latino parents would report more medication concerns than NLW parents; and Island PR parents would report the most barriers to medication use.
Five hundred thirty families of children with persistent asthma participated, including 231 Island PR, 111 RI NLW, and 188 RI Latino. Parents completed survey measures.
Group differences were found on reported use of ICS (X2 = 50.96, P <0.001), any controller medication (X2 = 56.49, P <0.001), and oral steroids (X2 = 10.87, P <0.01). Island PR parents reported a greater frequency of barriers to medication use than the other two groups (X2 = 61.13, P <0.001). Latino parents in both sites expressed more medication concerns than NLW parents (F = 20.18, P <0.001). Medication necessity was associated with ICS use in all three groups (all P’s <0.01). Medication concerns were positively associated with ICS use in PR only (OR = 1.64, P <0.05).
Differences in medication beliefs and the ability to obtain medications may explain the reported disparity in controller medication use. Further studies are needed to evaluate these obstacles to medication use.
disparities; adherence; asthma; ethnicity; childhood; medication use
Latino children represent a significant proportion of all US children, and asthma is the most common chronic illness affecting them. Previous research has revealed surprising differences in health among Latino children with asthma of varying countries of family origin. For instance, Puerto Rican children have a higher prevalence of asthma than Mexican American or Cuban American children. In addition, there are important differences in family structure and socioeconomic status among these Latino populations: Cuban Americans have higher levels of education and family income than Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans; mainland Puerto Rican children have the highest proportion of households led by a single mother. Our review of past research documents differences in asthma outcomes among Latino children and identifies the possible genetic, environmental, and health care factors associated with these differences. Based on this review, we propose research studies designed to differentiate between mutable and immutable risk and prognostic factors. We also propose that the sociocultural milieus of Latino subgroups of different ethnic and geographic origin are associated with varying patterns of risk factors that in turn lead to different morbidity patterns. Our analysis provides a blue-print for future research, policy development, and the evaluation of multifactorial interventions involving the collaboration of multiple social sectors, such as health care, public health, education, and public and private agencies.
Asthma is a common but complex respiratory ailment; current data indicate that interaction of genetic and environmental factors lead to its clinical expression. In the United States, asthma prevalence, morbidity, and mortality vary widely among different Latino ethnic groups. The prevalence of asthma is highest in Puerto Ricans, intermediate in Dominicans and Cubans, and lowest in Mexicans and Central Americans. Independently, known socioeconomic, environmental, and genetic differences do not fully account for this observation. One potential explanation is that there may be unique and ethnic-specific gene–environment interactions that can differentially modify risk for asthma in Latino ethnic groups. These gene–environment interactions can be tested using genetic ancestry as a surrogate for genetic risk factors. Latinos are admixed and share varying proportions of African, Native American, and European ancestry. Most Latinos are unaware of their precise ancestry and report their ancestry based on the national origin of their family and their physical appearance. The unavailability of precise ancestry and the genetic complexity among Latinos may complicate asthma research studies in this population. On the other hand, precisely because of this rich mixture of ancestry, Latinos present a unique opportunity to disentangle the clinical, social, environmental, and genetic underpinnings of population differences in asthma prevalence, severity, and bronchodilator drug responsiveness.
genes; environments; Latinos; Hispanics; asthma
Background and Objective:
This study examined belief systems of Latino caregivers who have children with asthma from Puerto Rican and Dominican backgrounds who resided on the Island of PR and the Mainland. The goal of this study was to document similarities and differences in beliefs about the causes, symptoms and treatments of asthma across two sites and two Latino ethnic sub-groups of children who remain the most at risk for asthma morbidity.
Participants included 100 primary caregivers of a child with asthma. Fifty caregivers from Island PR and fifty caregivers from mainland RI were interviewed (at each site, 25 caregivers were from Puerto Rican backgrounds and 25 caregivers were from Dominican backgrounds). The interview included an assessment of demographic information and beliefs about the causes and symptoms of asthma, and asthma practices.
Results indicated more similarities in beliefs about the causes and symptoms of asthma across site and ethnic group. The majority of differences were among beliefs about asthma practices by site and ethnic group. For example, a higher proportion of caregivers from Island PR, particularly those of Dominican descent, endorsed that a range of home and botanical remedies are effective for treating asthma.
Results from this study point to several interesting directions for future research including larger samples of Latino caregivers with children who have asthma. A discussion of the importance of understanding cultural beliefs about asthma and asthma practices is also reviewed.
Asthma; Latino Caregiver's Beliefs
Exposure to community violence (ECV) has been associated with asthma morbidity of children living in inner-city neighborhoods.
To examine with prospective longitudinal data whether ECV is independently associated with asthma-related health outcomes in adults.
Adults with moderate-severe asthma, recruited from clinics serving inner-city neighborhoods, completed questionnaires covering socio-demographics, asthma severity, and ECV and were followed for 26 weeks. Longitudinal models were employed to assess unadjusted and adjusted associations of subsequent asthma outcomes (emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, FEV1, quality of life).
397 adults, 47±14 years, 73% female, 70% African American, 7% Latino, mean FEV1 66%±19%, 133 with hospitalizations and 222 with ED visits for asthma in the year before entry were evaluated. 91 reported ECV. Controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and household income, those exposed to violence had 2.27 (95% CI: 1.32-3.90) times more asthma-related ED visits per month and 2.49 (95% CI: 1.11-5.60) times more asthma-related hospitalizations per month over the 26-week study period compared to those unexposed. Violence-exposed participants also had 1.71 (95% CI: 1.14-2.56) times more overall ED visits per month and 1.72 (95% CI: 0.95-3.11) times more overall hospitalizations per month from any cause. Asthma-related quality of life was lower in the violence-exposed participants (-0.40 (95%CI: -0.77-0.025), p=0.04). Effect modification by depressive symptoms was only statistically significant for the ECV association with overall ED visits and quality of life outcomes (p<.01).
In adults, ECV is associated with increased hospitalizations and emergency care for asthma or any condition and with asthma-related quality of life.
asthma; quality of life; emergency department visits; community violence; inner-city asthma
Background and objective
Latino children have lower rates of injury visits to emergency departments (EDs) than non‐Latino white and African American children. This study tests the hypothesis that this difference reflects health insurance status.
Children under 19 years of age visiting EDs in the USA, sampled in the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey of EDs (NHAMCS‐ED) from 1997 to 2001.
Main outcome measures
Rates of ED injury visits; ED injury visit rates by race/ethnicity stratified by health insurance and adjusted for other covariates; subtypes of injury visits; and procedures and hospital admissions by race/ethnicity.
Injuries accounted for >56 million, or 40.5%, of total ED visits among pediatric patients. Injury visits occurred at lower rates for Latino children (9.9 per 100 person years) than non‐Latino white and African American children (16.2 and 18.3, respectively), although total ED visit rates were similar. Regardless of health insurance status, Latino children had lower rates of injury visits than non‐Latino white and African American children. Latino children had lower rates of the three major subtypes of injury visits (sports, accidental falls, struck by/between objects). Latino children had similar rates of procedures and hospital admissions to non‐Latino white children.
Irrespective of their insurance status, Latino children have lower rates of ED injury visits in the USA than non‐Latino white children. Possible reasons for this difference include different healthcare seeking behavior or different injury patterns by race/ethnicity, but not differences in health insurance status or barriers to accessing ED care.
child; ethnicity; health insurance; emergency department visits
To determine whether a multi-dimensional cumulative risk index (CRI) is a stronger predictor of asthma morbidity in urban, school-aged children with asthma, than poverty or severity alone.
A total of 163 children with asthma, ages 7–15 years (42% female; 69% ethnic minority) and their primary caregivers completed interview-based questionnaires, focusing on potential cultural, contextual, and asthma-specific risks that can impact asthma morbidity.
Higher levels of cumulative risks were associated with more asthma morbidity, after controlling for poverty level or asthma severity. Analyses by ethnic group and subgroup also supported the relationship between the CRI and specific indices of asthma morbidity.
This study demonstrates the utility of multiple-dimensional risk models for predicting variations in asthma morbidity in urban children. Research efforts with urban families who have children with asthma need to consider the context of urban poverty as it relates to children’s cultural backgrounds and specific asthma outcomes.
asthma risks; urban
Causes of children’s asthma health disparities are complex. Parents’ asthma illness representations may play a role.
The study aims to test a theoretically based, multi-factorial model for ethnic disparities in children’s acute asthma visits through parental illness representations.
Structural equation modeling investigated the association of parental asthma illness representations, sociodemographic characteristics, health care provider factors, and social–environmental context with children’s acute asthma visits among 309 White, Puerto Rican, and African American families was conducted.
Forty-five percent of the variance in illness representations and 30% of the variance in acute visits were accounted for. Statistically significant differences in illness representations were observed by ethnic group. Approximately 30% of the variance in illness representations was explained for whites, 23% for African Americans, and 26% for Puerto Ricans. The model accounted for >30% of the variance in acute visits for African Americans and Puerto Ricans but only 19% for the whites.
The model provides preliminary support that ethnic heterogeneity in asthma illness representations affects children’s health outcomes.
Asthma; Illness representation; Acute visits; Ethnicity; Disparities
The purpose of this study is to examine the association between child and parent somatic symptom reporting and pediatric asthma morbidity in Latino and non-Latino white children.
The study consists of 786 children, 7 to 15 years of age, in Rhode Island (RI) and Puerto Rico. Children’s and parents’ levels of general somatic symptoms were assessed with well-established self-report measures. Clinician-determined asthma severity was based on reported medication use, asthma symptom history, and spirometry results. Asthma-related health care use and functional morbidity was obtained via parent self-report.
Child and parent reports of general somatic symptoms were significantly related to pediatric asthma functional morbidity when controlling for poverty, parent education, child’s age, and asthma severity. In controlling for covariates, Latino children in RI reported higher levels of somatic symptoms than Island Puerto Rican children, and RI Latino parents reported more somatic symptoms than RI non-Latino white parents (p < .05).
This study replicates and extends to children in previous research showing higher levels of symptom reporting in Latinos relative to whites. Results also provide new insight into the relation between general somatic symptom reports and pediatric asthma. Ethnic differences in somatic symptom reporting may be an important factor underlying asthma disparities between Latino and non-Latino white children.
asthma; health disparities; somatization
This study determines asthma-related health care access and utilization patterns for Latino children of Puerto Rican and Dominican origin residing in Rhode Island (RI) and Latino children residing in Puerto Rico (Island). Data included 804 families of children with persistent asthma recruited from clinics. Island children were less likely to receive regular asthma care and care from a consistent provider and more likely to have been to the emergency department and hospitalized for asthma than RI children. Island children were 2.33 times more likely to have used the emergency department for asthma compared with RI non-Latino White (NLW) children. Latino children residing in both Island and RI were less likely to have used specialty care and more likely to have had a physician visit for asthma in the past year than RI NLW children. The differences might reflect the effects of the different delivery systems on pediatric health care utilization and asthma management.
asthma; Hispanic Americans; Latino; children; health service accessibility; health care utilization; Puerto Rico
The study compared the prevalence, correlates of functional impairment, and service utilization for eating disorders across Latinos, Asians, and African Americans living in the U.S. to non-Latino Whites.
Pooled data from the NIMH Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiological Studies (CPES; ) were used.
The prevalence of anorexia nervosa (AN) and binge-eating disorder (BED) were similar across all groups examined, but bulimia nervosa (BN) was more prevalent among Latinos and African Americans than non-Latino whites. Despite similar prevalence of BED among ethnic groups examined, lifetime prevalence of ABE was greater among each of the ethnic minority groups in comparison to non-Latino Whites. Mental health service utilization was lower among ethnic minority groups studied than for non-Latino whites for respondents with a lifetime history of any eating disorder.
These findings suggest the need for clinician training and health policy interventions to achieve optimal and equitable care for eating disorders across all ethnic groups in the U.S.
Anorexia Nervosa; Bulimia Nervosa; Binge-eating disorder; Ethnicity
Taking advantage of recent data that permit an assessment of the importance of extended household members in operationalizing the relationship between family structure and children’s early development, this study incorporated coresident grandparents, other kin, and nonkin to investigate the associations between extended household structure and U.S. children’s cognitive and behavioral outcomes at age 2. Analyses assessed whether these relationships differed for Latino, African American, and White children and tested four potential explanations for such differences. Nationally representative data came from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort of 2001 (N ≈ 8,450). Extended household structures were much more prevalent in households of young African American and Latino children than among Whites. Nuclear households were beneficial for White children, but living with a grandparent was associated with the highest cognitive scores for African American children. Nuclear, vertically extended, and laterally extended households had similar associations with Latino children’s cognitive and behavior scores. Results suggest that expanded indicators of household structure that include grandparents, other kin, and nonkin are useful for understanding children’s early development.
Family structure; Extended households; Grandparents; Kin support; Early childhood
Rationale: Asthma prevalence and morbidity are especially elevated in adolescents, yet few interventions target this population.
Objectives: To test the efficacy of Asthma Self-Management for Adolescents (ASMA), a school-based intervention for adolescents and medical providers.
Methods: Three hundred forty-five primarily Latino/a (46%) and African American (31%) high school students (mean age = 15.1 yr; 70% female) reporting an asthma diagnosis, symptoms of moderate to severe persistent asthma, and asthma medication use in the last 12 months were randomized to ASMA, an 8-week school-based intervention, or a wait-list control group. They were followed for 12 months.
Measurements and Main Results: Students completed bimonthly assessments. Baseline, 6-month, and 12-month assessments were comprehensive; the others assessed interim health outcomes and urgent health care use. Primary outcomes were asthma self-management, symptom frequency, and quality of life (QOL); secondary outcomes were asthma medical management, school absences, days with activity limitations, and urgent health care use. Relative to control subjects, ASMA students reported significantly: more confidence to manage their asthma; taking more steps to prevent symptoms; greater use of controller medication and written treatment plans; fewer night awakenings, days with activity limitation, and school absences due to asthma; improved QOL; and fewer acute care visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations. In contrast, steps to manage asthma episodes, daytime symptom frequency, and school-reported absences did not differentiate the two groups. Most results were sustained over the 12 months.
Conclusions: ASMA is efficacious in improving asthma self-management and reducing asthma morbidity and urgent health care use in low-income urban minority adolescents.
asthma; urban; adolescents; school-based; intervention
Epidemiologic studies have documented higher rates of asthma prevalence and morbidity in minority children compared to non-Latino white (NLW) children. Few studies focus on the mechanisms involved in explaining this disparity, and fewer still on the methodological challenges involved in rigorous disparities research.
Objectives and Methods
This article provides an overview of challenges and potential solutions to research design for studies of health disparities. The methodological issues described in this article were framed on an empirical model of asthma health disparities that views disparities as resulting from several factors related to the healthcare system and the individual/community system. The methods used in the Rhode Island–Puerto Rico Asthma Center are provided as examples, illustrating the challenges in executing disparities research.
Several methods are described: distinguishing ethnic/racial differences from methodological artifacts, identifying and adapting culturally sensitive measures to explain disparities, and addressing the challenges involved in determining asthma and its severity in Latino and other minority children. The measures employed are framed within each of the components of the conceptual model presented.
Understanding ethnic and/or cultural disparities in asthma morbidity is a complicated process. Methodologic approaches to studying the problem must reflect this complexity, allowing us to move from documenting disparities to understanding them, and ultimately to reducing them.
asthma; health disparities; Latino; Puerto Rican; children; research methods
To identify factors that impact asthma morbidity in rural school-aged children.
Exploratory analysis of baseline data collected in a longitudinal intervention study.
Four rural school districts that served small towns and unincorporated areas..
Children in grades 2 to 5 who had current asthma and who spoke English or Spanish. There were 183 children (108 boys, 75 girls) with an average age of 8.78, and who were Hispanic (46%), White (31%), or African American (22%).
Associations between asthma risk factors (gender, ethnicity/race, socioeconomic status [SES], asthma severity), asthma resources (access to care, health insurance), family asthma management, and asthma morbidity (absenteeism, emergency department [ED] visits, hospitalizations) were analyzed.
Children with more severe asthma had higher absenteeism, more hospitalizations, and their parents performed more asthma management behaviors. Families who had difficulty accessing care had more hospitalizations and ED visits, and were more likely to be poor. More boys, more Hispanic and African American children, and more children from poorer families were hospitalized for asthma than were middle-class and non-Hispanic White children.
Asthma is a chronic condition that is fairly easy for some families to manage, while other families are having higher asthma morbidity that needs to be addressed through targeted interventions.
Asthma; children; rural
Despite evidence of ethnic differences in family caregivers’ experiences, the extent to which caregiver interventions are culturally tailored to address these differences is unknown. A systematic review of literature published from 1980–2009 identified: differences in caregiving experiences of African American, Latino and Chinese American caregivers; psychosocial support interventions in these groups; and cultural tailoring of interventions. Ethnic differences in caregiving occurred at multiple levels (intrapersonal, interpersonal, environmental) and in multiple domains (psychosocial health, life satisfaction, caregiving appraisals, spirituality, coping, self-efficacy, physical functioning, social support, filial responsibility, familism, views toward elders, use of formal services and health care). Only 18 of 47 intervention articles reported outcomes by caregiver ethnicity. Only 11 reported cultural tailoring; 8 were from the REACH initiative. Cultural tailoring addressed: familism, language, literacy, protecting elders, and logistical barriers. Results suggest that more caregiver intervention studies evaluating systematically the benefits of cultural tailoring are needed.
cultural sensitivity; cultural competence; dementia caregivers; Latinos; African Americans; Chinese Americans; support interventions
Premature discontinuation of psychiatric treatment among ethnic-racial minorities is a persistent concern. Prior research on identifying factors associated with ethnic-racial disparities in depression treatment has been limited by the scarcity of national samples with adequate representation of minority groups and especially non-English speakers. In this article we aim to identify variations in the likelihood of retention in depression treatment among ethnic-racial minority groups in the US as compared to non-Latino whites. Secondly, we aim to identify factors which are related to treatment retention.
We use data from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES) to examine differences and correlates of depression treatment retention among a representative sample (n=564) of non-Latino whites, Latinos, African American and Asian respondents with last 12 month depressive disorder and who report receiving formal mental health treatment in the last year. We define retention as attending at least four visits or remaining in treatment over a 12 month period.
Being seen by a mental health specialist as opposed to being seen by a generalist and having received medication are correlates of treatment retention for the entire sample. However, after adjusting for demographics, clinical factors including number of co-occurring psychiatric disorders and level of disability, African Americans are significantly less likely to be retained in depression treatment as compared to non-Latino whites.
Availability of specialized mental health services or comparable treatment within primary care could improve treatment retention. Low retention suggests persistent problems in the delivery of depression treatment for African Americans.
Depression; Retention in Care; Ethnic-Racial Minorities
Many studies have evaluated factors influencing STD/HIV disparities between African-American and white populations, but fewer have explicitly included Latinos for comparison.
We analyzed demographic and behavioral data captured in electronic medical records of patients first seen by a clinician in one of two Baltimore City public STD clinics between 2004 and 2007. Records from white, African-American, and Latino patients were included in the analysis.
There were significant differences between Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups for several behavioral risk factors studied, with Latino patients reporting fewer behavioral risk factors than other patients. Latinos were more likely to have syphilis, but less likely to have gonorrhea than other racial/ethnic groups. English-proficient Latina (female) patients reported higher rates of infection and behavioral risk factors than Spanish-speaking Latina patients. After adjustment for gender and behavioral risk factors, Spanish-speaking Latinas also had significantly less risk of sexually transmitted infections than did English-speaking Latinas.
These results are consistent with other studies showing that acculturation (as measured by language proficiency) is associated with increases in reported sexual risk behaviors among Latinos. Future studies on sexual risk behavior among specific Latino populations characterized by country of origin, level of acculturation, and years in the U.S. may identify further risk factors and protective factors to guide development of culturally appropriate STD/HIV interventions.
Hispanic/Latino; sexually transmitted disease clinic; racial/ethnic disparities; acculturation; gonorrhea; chlamydia; syphilis; HIV
Rates of developmental and respiratory diseases are disproportionately high in underserved, minority populations such as those in New York City's Washington Heights, Harlem, and the South Bronx. Blacks and Latinos in these neighborhoods represent high risk groups for asthma, adverse birth outcomes, impaired development, and some types of cancer. The Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health in Washington Heights uses molecular epidemiologic methods to study the health effects of urban indoor and outdoor air pollutants on children, prenatally and postnatally, in a cohort of over 500 African-American and Dominican (originally from the Dominican Republic) mothers and newborns. Extensive data are collected to determine exposures to particulate matter < 2.5 microm in aerodynamic diameter (PM(2.5)), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), diesel exhaust particulate (DEP), nitrogen oxide, nonpersistent pesticides, home allergens (dust mite, mouse, cockroach), environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), and lead and other metals. Biomarkers, air sampling, and clinical assessments are used to study the effects of these exposures on children's increased risk for allergic sensitization, asthma and other respiratory disorders, impairment of neurocognitive and behavioral development, and potential cancer risk. The center conducts its research and community education in collaboration with 10 community-based health and environmental advocacy organizations. This unique academic-community partnership helps to guide the center's research so that it is most relevant to the context of the low-income, minority neighborhoods in which the cohort resides, and information is delivered back to these communities in meaningful ways. In turn, communities become better equipped to relay environmental health concerns to policy makers. In this paper we describe the center's research and its academic-community partnership and present some preliminary findings.
Substantial research has documented pervasive disparities in the prevalence, severity, and morbidity of asthma among minority populations compared to non-Latino whites. The underlying causes of these disparities are not well understood, and as a result, the leverage points to address them remain unclear. A multilevel framework for integrating research in asthma health disparities is proposed in order to advance both future research and clinical practice. The components of the proposed model include health care policies and regulations, operation of the health care system, provider/clinician-level factors, social/environmental factors, and individual/family attitudes and behaviors. The body of research suggests that asthma disparities have multiple, complex and inter-related sources. Disparities occur when individual, environmental, health system, and provider factors interact with one another over time. Given that the causes of asthma disparities are complex and multilevel, clinical strategies to address these disparities must therefore be comparably multilevel and target many aspects of asthma care. Clinical Implications: Several strategies that could be applied in clinical settings to reduce asthma disparities are described including the need for routine assessment of the patient’s beliefs, financial barriers to disease management, and health literacy, and the provision of cultural competence training and communication skills to health care provider groups.
Asthma disparities; multi-level model of asthma disparities; clinical recommendations
Ethnic differences in the prevalence of asthma among children in the UK are under-researched. We aimed to determine the ethnic differences in the prevalence of asthma and atopic asthma in children from the main UK ethnic groups, and whether differences are associated with differential distributions in social and psychosocial risk factors.
6,643 pupils aged 11-13 years, 80% ethnic minorities. Outcomes were asthma/wheeze with (atopic) and without hay fever/eczema. Risk factors examined were family history of asthma, length of residence in the UK, socioeconomic disadvantage, tobacco exposure, psychological well-being, and body mass index (BMI).
There was a pattern of lower prevalence of asthma in Black African boys and girls, and Indian and Bangladeshi girls compared to White UK. The overall prevalence was higher in Mixed Black Caribbean/White boys, with more atopic asthma in Black Caribbean boys and Mixed Black Caribbean/White boys due to more hayfever. Poor psychological well-being and family history of asthma were associated with an increased risk of asthma within each ethnic group. UK residence for ≤ 5 years was protective for Black Caribbeans and Black Africans. Increased BMI was associated with an increased reporting of asthma for Black Africans. Adjustments for all variables did not remove the excess asthma reported by Black Caribbean boys (atopic) or Mixed Black Caribbean/White boys.
The protective effect of being born abroad accounted for ethnic differences in some groups, signalling a role for socio-environmental factors in patterning ethnic differences in asthma in adolescence.
To investigate rates of psychotropic medication use by youths served in public service sectors as a function of race/ethnicity.
Logistic regression models were used to examine racial/ethnic differences in caregiver report of psychotropic medication use for a random stratified sample of 1,342 children who were served in public service sectors during the second half of fiscal year 1996–97.
Race/ethnicity predicted caregiver report of past-year and lifetime psychotropic medication use when all other factors were held constant. Specifically, caregivers of African-American and Latino children were less likely to report past-year use compared to white children; caregivers of Latino children and “others” were less likely to report lifetime use. Additional factors predictive of medication use in regression models included younger age, male gender, higher household income, insurance type, active to mental health sector at time of enumeration into the study, impairment and diagnosis of mood, and anxiety or attentional disorder.
Racial/ethnic differences in use of psychotropic medication occur in children served in public service sectors and need to be considered in clinical diagnosis and treatment.
psychotropics; pediatrics; race; ethnicity