Our Vision

Our Vision

Our Vision

Goals and Objectives:
  1. To identify and define disparities in health care delivery, access, and outcomes among minority and other underserved populations in the United States.

  2. To evaluate differences in health care delivery and health outcomes among underserved populations in urban and rural settings.

  3. To understand the root causes of these disparities.

  4. To understand the influence of culture and attitudes towards health care on the utilization, delivery and organization of health care services.

  5. To learn how to effectively intervene to eliminate disparities in health care and health outcomes among minority and other underserved populations in the United States.

  6. To effect changes in health care delivery that assures equal access to health care and optimal health outcomes for minority and other underserved populations in the United States.

Resources:

The University of Virginia Center on Health Disparities has unique resources and advantages that will be important as we strive to achieve these stated goals. The UVA Health System provides health care to a widely dispersed, largely rural population in Central Virginia, eastern West Virginia and Tennessee. This population is under-served and often indigent. We intend to foster collaboration with historically black colleges and universities in Virginia through our participation in the Virginia-Nebraska Alliance . These collaborations will allow us to evaluate differences in the use of the health care system and health outcomes among minority populations in urban and rural settings.

The University of Virginia also has strong capabilities in health services research and outcomes evaluation. These scientists have a solid track record in evaluating health care and access to care for minority
and other underserved populations. The Department of Health Evaluation Sciences will provide expertise, computer facilities, and methodologic rigor that will assure the highest quality analysis of health care and health outcomes of minority and other underserved populations.

The Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia has a long-standing interest in assuring justice in the scientific evaluation of vulnerable populations. This expertise will be essential for evaluating the ethical implications of disparity of health care and health outcomes among minority and other underserved populations. It will also be valuable as we fashion solutions to these problems.

The Departments of Anthropology and Social Science have an extensive track record of the study of social and cultural influences on the use of the health care system and on health outcomes. They will play an essential role in the center by increasing our understanding cultural influences both within the health care system as well as within the diverse communities it serves.

The Center on Health Disparities will have access to the rich scientific community at the University of Virginia Health System. A preliminary inquiry to assess interest in evaluating health care in minority and other underserved populations has already generated interest from scientists with expertise in the areas of heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, infectious disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and palliative care. Other schools (Darden, Law, Nursing ) may be helpful in addressing specific problems.

The Center on Health Disparities will foster relationships and collaboration with minority groups and leaders in Virginia. This effort is essential to the ultimate success of the center in our goal of modifying the health system to assure access to care and optimal health while remaining sensitive to and respectful of the needs, values and culture of all citizens.


First steps:

  1. Education and Discussion: The Center will establish regular educational sessions that will provide presentations by local and national experts in minority health and health issues of the underserved. There will also be consideration of establishing a biennial conference on health disparities to be sponsored by the University of Virginia.

  2. Research agenda: The Center will foster the development of research initiatives that are consistent with the goals and objectives of the Center. Regular research meetings are ongoing which will be used to discuss ideas, encourage investigators new to the field and provide advice with regards to developing research questions, study design and analysis. We will foster relationships with national funding agencies and foundations to assure sustainable support for these research initiatives.

  3. Developing relationships : The Center will seek to develop formal relationships with other universities who are interested in developing a research program in minority health and health issues related to the underserved. We will meet with local and national representatives of the minority communities to discuss mutual goals, to develop the future research agenda for the center and to develop long-term relationships.

  4. Develop organizational structure: We will develop a more formal organizational structure that will meet the needs of investigators, collaborating institutions and community representatives. This structure will grow from the collaborative work with fellow investigators both locally and nationally.