What Disease Hits Black Men Most?

A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation documents which illnesses and health factors are affecting Black men more than other groups.

A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that in almost every state men of color continue to fare worse than white men on a variety of measures of health, healthcare access and other social determinants of health.


The report, Putting Men's Health Care Disparities On The Map: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level, documents the persistence of disparities between white men and men of color—and among different groups within men of color—on 22 indicators of health and well-being, including rates of diseases such as AIDS, cancer, heart disease and diabetes, as well as insurance coverage and health screenings. It also documents disparities in factors that influence health and access to care such as income and education.

This new analysis provides state-level data for men of many racial and ethnic populations that have not been available before. Among the findings:

  • American Indian and Alaska native men had higher rates of health and access problems than men in other racial and ethnic groups on nearly all health indicators. They also had the highest poverty rate and second worst educational attainment, unemployment rate and incarceration rate.
  • More than four in 10 Latino men lacked insurance (46 percent) and a personal health care provider (49 percent), and more than a fifth (22 percent) had no doctor visit in the previous year due to cost. Latino men also had the lowest median household income, the largest wage gap compared to white men and the lowest educational status.
  • Black men had much higher rates of poverty and incarceration and lower rates of high school graduation than whites. The most striking health disparity was that nationally Black men were more than seven times as likely as white men to be newly diagnosed with AIDS, with a rate of 101.5 new AIDS cases per 100,000 Blacks ages 13 and older compared with 13.5 new cases per 100,000 whites. The disparity was even larger in some states, such as Nebraska,Pennsylvania, and Maryland, where the rate of new AIDS cases was more than 10 times as high among black men compared to whites.
  • Nationally, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander men had the lowest rate of health problems and the fewest barriers to access of all subgroups of men, even white men.
  • While white men fared better than minority men on most access and social indicators, they had higher rates of some health problems than men of color, such as higher rates of smoking and binge drinking. For example, inWisconsin35 percent of white men reported binge drinking compared with 20 percent of minority men.
  • Some of the states with the greatest access disparities between white and minority men included Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., all of which also exhibited some of the greatest disparities in income between white and minority men. Several states with relatively large Native American populations—Arizona,North Dakota and South Dakota—also had large disparities in access between white and minority men.

The full report, including detailed state-by-state data tables and related fact sheets, is available online.

A companion report released in 2009 examines similar racial and ethnic disparities among women, and includes state fact sheets and interactive data tables, also is available.

For more on decreasing disparities in healthcare, watch the video below on WellPoint's innovative Community Ambassador Program:

For closed captioning, press the "CC" icon in the YouTube player.

Also read:

Eliminating Healthcare Disparities: How Kaiser Permanente & Trinity Health Close Racial Gaps

The Business Case for Diversity in Healthcare

Can Culturally Competent Healthcare Close Disparities Gaps?

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Kaiser Permanente Researchers Develop New Models for Predicting Suicide Risk

Approach may offer value to health systems and clinicians in targeting interventions to prevent suicide

Originally Published by Kaiser Permanente.

Combining data from electronic health records with results from standardized depression questionnaires better predicts suicide risk in the 90 days following either mental health specialty or primary care outpatient visits, reports a team from the Mental Health Research Network, led by Kaiser Permanente research scientists.

The study, "Predicting Suicide Attempts and Suicide Death Following Outpatient Visits Using Electronic Health Records," conducted in five Kaiser Permanente regions (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, California and Washington), the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and the HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis, was published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Combining a variety of information from the past five years of people's electronic health records and answers to questionnaires, the new models predicted suicide risk more accurately than before, according to the authors. The strongest predictors include prior suicide attempts, mental health and substance use diagnoses, medical diagnoses, psychiatric medications dispensed, inpatient or emergency room care, and scores on a standardized depression questionnaire.

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"We demonstrated that we can use electronic health record data in combination with other tools to accurately identify people at high risk for suicide attempt or suicide death," said first author Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH, a Kaiser Permanente psychiatrist in Washington and a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

In the 90 days following an office visit:

  • Suicide attempts and deaths among patients whose visits were in the highest 1 percent of predicted risk were 200 times more common than among those in the bottom half of predicted risk.
  • Patients with mental health specialty visits who had risk scores in the top 5 percent accounted for 43 percent of suicide attempts and 48 percent of suicide deaths.
  • Patients with primary care visits who had scores in the top 5 percent accounted for 48 percent of suicide attempts and 43 percent of suicide deaths.

This study builds on previous models in other health systems that used fewer potential predictors from patients' records. Using those models, people in the top 5 percent of risk accounted for only a quarter to a third of subsequent suicide attempts and deaths. More traditional suicide risk assessment, which relies on questionnaires or clinical interviews only, is even less accurate.

The new study involved seven large health systems serving a combined population of 8 million people in nine states. The research team examined almost 20 million visits by nearly 3 million people age 13 or older, including about 10.3 million mental health specialty visits and about 9.7 million primary care visits with mental health diagnoses. The researchers deleted information that could help identify individuals.

"It would be fair to say that the health systems in the Mental Health Research Network, which integrate care and coverage, are the best in the country for implementing suicide prevention programs," Dr. Simon said. "But we know we could do better. So several of our health systems, including Kaiser Permanente, are working to integrate prediction models into our existing processes for identifying and addressing suicide risk."

Suicide rates are increasing, with suicide accounting for nearly 45,000 deaths in the United States in 2016; 25 percent more than in 2000, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Other health systems can replicate this approach to risk stratification, according to Dr. Simon. Better prediction of suicide risk can inform decisions by health care providers and health systems. Such decisions include how often to follow up with patients, refer them for intensive treatment, reach out to them after missed or canceled appointments — and whether to help them create a personal safety plan and counsel them about reducing access to means of self-harm.

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