Racial/ethnic healthcare disparities are a persistent and troubling part of the healthcare landscape in the U.S. There are reasons pertaining to efficiency and equity that justify the reduction of the disparities, but these justifications are often unspoken, assumed, or downplayed to avoid conflict. Using empirical analyses of nationally representative surveys and qualitative analyses of data collected among Black individuals with serious mental illness in Roxbury and Dorchester, I will explore principles of equity and efficiency as they pertain to healthcare disparities, and hope to initiate a discussion about the extent to which equity considerations should gain more priority in national healthcare policy.
Dr. Benjamin Cook is a health services researcher focused on improving access and quality of treatment for individuals living with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. He also has a particular focus on improving methods of measuring and understanding underlying pathways of healthcare disparities, and applying these methods to analyses of national data sets and healthcare system electronic health records. He has been PI of multiple NIH-, AHRQ-, PCORI- and private foundation-funded studies. He holds a Ph.D. in Health Policy from Harvard University, is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Director of the Health Equity Research Lab at Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, MA and the PRIME Center for Health Equity at Montefiore/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY.