It is imperative for every decision, law, and policy that will impact health care be backed by hard data for better design and evaluation of results. Key words: Racial disparities, health policy makers, demographic data Using Demographic Data to Examine Health Disparities One of the best and most reliable sources of information that health policy makers have at their disposal are the demographic data that are collected and presented in government initiated surveys. One of the trends that can be observed in these data sets is the differences in access or quality of healthcare services that are available to members of different races. The US being a democratic country upholds the right of each of its citizens regardless of race. Carefully examining demographic data will ensure that necessary reforms can be made by healthcare policy-makers so as to better address the concerns and needs of all citizens especially those that are considered to be in the racial minority like the Hispanics. There are certain aspects wherein the differences in access and quality of healthcare between the different races can explicitly be seen: the incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the leading cause of death, and the neonatal and post-neonatal mortality rates. Close examination of the data from National and local government sponsored surveys will help health policy-makers make better decisions and laws with regards to provisions in healthcare for racial and cultural minorities. If the rates of discrepancies in healthcare access and quality between races will decrease, only then we can really declare that the US is a free country where true democracy and equality is achieved. I. A Comparison of the Incidence and Prevalence Rates of HIV/AIDS among Hispanics and the Whole United States “The incidence is the number of new HIV infections that occur during a given year” according to the report given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011). Figure no. 1 illustrates the difference in the incidence rates per 100,000 persons. The annual incidence rate of AIDS (per 100,000 people) among the U.S. population in 2009 is 15.74; while the annual incidence rate of AIDS (per 100,000 people) among Hispanics/Latinos is 2009 are 20.13. There is a significant statistical difference between the two rates which means there is a significant statistical disparity between the incidences rates of HIV/AIDS for Hispanic/ Latino compared to national values. Figure 1. A comparison of the incidence rates per 100,000 populations between the Hispanic/Latinos and the total US population. Rates computed as per 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates and CDC HIV Surveillance Report: Diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas (2009). Error bars set at 5% statistical significance. Figure 2 describes, on the other hand, the prevalence of the HIV/AIDS. According to the same report, “prevalence is the number of people living with HIV infection at a given time, such as at the end of a given year” (CDC, 2011). The prevalence rate of AIDS (per 100,000 people) among the U.S. population based on data received through 2009 is 357.81, while the rates for Hispanic/ Latinos are 400.54. Although there is an observable disparity between the two rates, when analyzed statistically with error set at 5%, we can see that there is no statistical diffe
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Using Demographic Data to Examine Health Disparities Author’s Name University Using Demographic Data to Examine Health Disparities Abstract Demographic data are an essential tool for researchers and policy makers alike in making accurate representations of the trends that can e observed in the medical and other service fields…
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