New Britain, Conn. – Nov. 16, 2010 – A new survey reports that more than half of the minorities living in Connecticut feel they have experienced “health injustice.” The survey, conducted by KDPaine and Partners for Health Justice CT, revealed that 54 percent of all minority respondents and 64 percent of African-Americans feel they have experienced health care inequality based on their race. “Health injustice” or “health disparities” refer to avoidable differences in health status and are inequitably distributed in Connecticut communities of color. Black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino populations, in particular, are disproportionately affected by health problems.
More than 400 Connecticut residents responded to the online survey, which measured perceptions about whether there are equal opportunities for health and health care in the state. The Health Justice CT initiative is taking a leadership role to address this issue by using social media to build public support and create an agenda for action.
“By using social media to stimulate informed conversation and encourage collaboration, we hope to develop possible solutions to decrease health disparities,” said Otis Pitts, a member of the Health Justice CT advisory board and health equity associate for the Connecticut Association of Directors of Health. “This study is a way to gain more insight and determine the most effective ways to talk about poorly understood concepts involving race, health care and justice as we seek meaningful and sustainable solutions.”
- Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of all respondents felt a doctor or hospital would treat them differently based on their race or ethnic background. In addition, 31 percent said they were more likely to select a physician based on ethnicity, with more than 65 percent of Hispanic/Latino respondents saying they would do so.
- Minorities were more likely to turn to their community and/or church groups (10 percent) for advice than Caucasians (2 percent), while Caucasians were slightly more likely to turn to a friend (15 percent) or Website (22 percent) than those of another ethnicity.
- While minorities prefer to discuss medical issues with their physicians, those earning less than $20,000 per year were less likely to turn to a doctor for advice (8 percent) than those that those earning more than $100,000 (48 percent).
- Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed said online websites were nearly as popular a source of health information as their doctors (34 percent). In addition, twice as many respondents reported they would rather go online for advice than talk to a friend or relative about health or medical issues (14 percent).
- Although 39 percent of those surveyed were familiar with Facebook and 15 percent were familiar with Twitter, the majority of respondents (63 percent) did not trust these online social channels as sources of health information. Seventy-three percent of respondents felt that newspapers were a trustworthy source, while only 15 percent of respondents said they trusted wikis.
“Racial and ethnic health disparities have been extensively documented in Connecticut and nationally, and present a complex challenge for health care and public health systems, and society at large,” said Elizabeth Krause, senior program officer for Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health). “CT Health has made a long-term commitment to promoting health equity by eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities.”
“As a result of social isolation, many individuals have been forced to turn to local institutions, such as churches, rather than a doctor, for health information,” said Pitts. “As a community, we must find a way to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity for accessible and improved health. We must also learn how to make optimal use of trusted local organizations that can serve as a link to getting health resources to Connecticut’s neglected residents.”
For a full copy of the study findings, visit CT Health Survey Results.
About Health Justice CT
Health Justice CT is an initiative designed to use social media channels as the foundation for creating a movement of Connecticut residents dedicated to working together to raise awareness about the issue of racial and ethnic disparities, find innovative solutions, and ultimately achieve health justice for everyone in Connecticut. The program is funded by the Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) and is being managed by the foundation’s grantee, the Society for New Communications Research, in conjunction with communications agency CRT/tanaka. To join the conversation, find us on Facebook and Twitter.