Reducing disparities in asthma care: Priorities for research—National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Workshop Repor

Minority groups with diverse racial and ethnic heritages and persons living in poverty are much more likely to die of asthma and to require emergency care for exacerbations of asthma than white persons not living in poverty. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute convened a multidisciplinary group of expert scientists and clinicians to review current research aimed at understanding risk factors for these disparities in asthma health outcomes, to describe key barriers to improving asthma outcomes, and to establish priorities for future research. Education programs for asthma and other chronic diseases were reviewed. Successful elements of clinic and community-based programs were identified. Factors potentially involved in producing disparities include gene-environment interaction, psychologic and social factors, and socioeconomic status. Stress potentially contributes to asthma morbidity at both the individual and community level. Recommendations are made to stimulate research to understand risk factors for disparities and their mechanisms (eg, gene-by-environment interactions and the role of stress), to define appropriate research designs and methods for evaluating behavioral and community interventions, and to examine how differential access to care contributes to morbidity. Research is encouraged to identify strategies that improve cultural adaptation and adoption of proven programs in a variety of populations

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