Protection of racial/ethnic minority populations during an influenza pandemic
Sonja S. Hutchins; Kevin Fiscella; Robert S. Levine; Danielle C. Ompad ; Marian McDonald
Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Office of the Chief of Public Health Practice, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
October 1, 2009
Racial/ethnic minority populations experience worse health outcomes than do other groups during and after disasters. Evidence for a differential impact from pandemic influenza includes both higher rates of underlying health conditions in minority populations, increasing their risk of influenza-related complications, and larger socioeconomic (e.g., access to health care), cultural, educational, and linguistic barriers to adoption of pandemic interventions. Implementation of pandemic interventions could be optimized by (1) culturally competent preparedness and response that address specific needs of racial/ethnic minority populations, (2) improvements in public health and community health safety net systems, (3) social policies that minimize economic burdens and improve compliance with isolation and quarantine, and (4) relevant, practical, and culturally and linguistically tailored communications.