Health Care Disparities: Nurses Need to Care Essay

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Health Care Disparities: Nurses Need to Care The United States government spent 2.3 billion dollars in 2010 on federally funded healthcare initiatives and programs according to a report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (2008). Despite this astronomical amount of money, health care disparities continue to plague disadvantaged populations in the United States. A health care disparity is defined as differences in incidence, mortality, prevalence, disease burden, and adverse health conditions that occur in specific population groups in the United States (National Institutes of Health, 2010). These differences occur as a result of culture, race and geographical location as well as socioeconomic status (Andrews, & Boyle,…show more content…
Difficulties in accessing preventative care create a health disparity by allowing health issues to grow in severity before medical intervention occurs (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). If access to preventative services is increased then the prevalence of health disparity will likely decrease. The state of Maine is not a very diverse group of people, but health disparities continue to be present. There are four recognized Native American Tribes in Maine, the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot. These tribes represent the second largest minority in the state (Keuhnert, 2000). As a group they suffer from several health disparities. There is a proportionately higher prevalence of obesity, diabetes, alcoholism, COPD, and lung cancer (Keuhnert, 2000). Native Americans in Maine live in every Maine County, but populations are concentrated in the rural communities of Indian Island, Pleasant Point, Indian Township, Houlton, and Presque Isle, all of which include reservations except for Presque Isle (Keuhnert, 2000). The Native American population in Maine is younger than the general population and is similar to the population distribution in developing nations (Keuhnert, 2000). They have lower per capita household income and higher unemployment rates, as well as lower
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