Current Health Status For African Americans, there are often significant health challenges associated with this population group that are associated with their disadvantaged and vulnerable status. Asians also experience their own set of challenges that are related to cultural norms, values, and expectations. These groups each demonstrate a need for specific guidance in health-related areas and are likely to have different experiences within the healthcare arena. It is necessary to understand these differences and what is required to ensure that minorities and/or disadvantaged populations receive adequate healthcare resources and treatment on a routine basis. For these groups, there must be a greater emphasis on activities related to health promotion and in other areas in order to be successful in treating patients who often face a risk of limited health options as a result of their socioeconomic status, race, or ethnicity.
Definition of Health Promotion
Health promotion must serve as a primary area of focus in modern healthcare systems in order to ensure that patients receive access to the appropriate tools and resources as necessary to facilitate positive patient outcomes. This term is generally defined as “the process which enables people to improve control over the determinants of health and as a result to improve their own health” (Jadelhack, 2012, p. 65). Health promotion often encompasses a number of basic guiding principles, but at the same time, requires specific factors that will enable patients to receive the best possible care and treatment under the circumstances in which they live and work (Jadelhack, 2012). There must be a strategic plan in place that will emphasize the importance of allocating resources appropriately to support patients within these groups; in addition, their needs must be identified and supported by the activities that are established to address their health needs and concerns (Jadelhack, 2012). In many ways, health promotion activities are largely unequal and create limitations for some populations due to lack of knowledge, limited resources, and the establishment of programs that are not beneficial to residents (Goldberg, 2012). Therefore, disadvantaged populations continue to struggle in meeting their healthcare needs because resources are slim and are unequally distributed to those who are in other population groups and who do not necessarily require them because their needs may be different (Goldberg, 2012).
Health disparities within the African American population are commonly known and include a higher prevalence of chronic disease as a result of poor living conditions, limited incomes, limited access to healthcare, and poor dietary habits, coupled with limited physical activity. Diseases such as diabetes are prevalent within this population and require a greater understanding of the challenges of the healthcare system and what is required to minimize these risks for this population (Page-Reeves et.al, 2013). Health disparities often create fear and apprehension within a given patient population and limit their ability to access the appropriate resources and to take advantage of opportunities to improve their knowledge and to obtain support from the healthcare community (Page-Reeves et.al, 2013). Similarly, members of the Asian population face their own health challenges and find it difficult to overcome adversity on many levels that have a direct impact on their health and wellbeing. Chronic diseases are common, as well as barriers in communication that may limit or even prohibit these persons to obtain high quality care and treatment under a variety of conditions.
Health disparities often create difficult challenges that may interfere with the ability of clinical providers to meet the expectations set forth with the basic concepts of health promotion within a larger framework; therefore, it is necessary to obtain an improved understanding of these concepts and to determine what steps are required to ensure that patients will obtain access to health promotion activities that are likely to make a difference in their lives. There are a number of factors to consider with respect to health promotion activities, including primary, secondary, and tertiary alternatives that will be useful in guiding patients towards improved health and wellbeing. It is often believed that education provides sufficient benefits for patients in meeting health promotion goals and objectives, but this is not the case, as other alternatives must also be explored to build upon the foundation that education provides (Goldberg, 2012).
Conducting outreach within communities is likely to bridge some of the gaps that exist between healthcare providers and local community members in disadvantages populations, particularly as there are significant limitations in many ways that influence patient health and wellbeing. It is important for healthcare providers to be realistic regarding the needs of the chosen population and to recognize that their needs are complex and intricate on many levels. In addition, these needs may not fit programs and initiatives that have already been established; therefore, new alternatives must be considered that will emphasize the importance of the needs of the population and the surrounding environment. Health disparities are highly diverse and are a product of many different circumstances; therefore, these must be addressed in accordance with these conditions in order to accomplish the intended results. African Americans, for example, possess unique cultural and ethnic identifiers that require further attention and focus; therefore, these issues must be considered in the context of how they impact patients within this population and in determining what steps are required to ensure that these patients receive interventions that appropriately target their most critical needs. This requires a strong knowledge base and the ability to make ethically responsible decisions in order to minimize the disparities that exist within this population group.
- Goldberg, D.S. (2012). Social justice, health inequalities and methodological individualism in US health promotion. Public Health Ethics, 5(2), 104-115.
- Jadelhack, R. (2012). Health promotion in nursing and cost-effectiveness. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 19(2), 65-68.
- Page-Reeves, J., Niforatos, J., Mishra, S., Regino, L., Gingrich, A., & Buiten, J. (2013). Health disparity and structural violence: how fear undermines health among immigrants at risk for diabetes. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 6(2), 30-48.