report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. The report highlighted the importance of a focus on health care quality rather than a focus only on access and cost issues. And in 2003, the IOM released Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare, the first comprehensive documentation that racial and ethnic minorities have less access to health care and that the care these groups do have access to is often of poor quality.
Building upon these seminal reports, the IOM held a workshop on April 8, 2010, that discussed progress to address health disparities and focused on the success of various federal initiatives to reduce disparities. The workshop’s statement of task was as follows:
The Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities uses public workshops to inform its meetings and discussions on relevant topics. An ad hoc committee will plan and conduct the workshop that will feature invited presentations and discussions. The planning committee will define the specific topics to be addressed, develop the agenda, select and invite speakers, and moderate the discussions. The workshop will explore progress in reducing health disparities and promoting health equity in the past decade.
One essential task is to look at various kinds of intervention strategies to improve health outcomes in vulnerable populations, particularly in the present context of enduring economic inequality for people of color nationwide. Additionally, there are state and local efforts under way to reduce health disparities (IOM, 2011) that involve collaboration among agencies at the federal, state, and local levels such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) program as well as collaborations with local universities. Several of these collaborative efforts were presented during the workshop.
On April 8, 2010, the IOM’s Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities sponsored a public workshop to focus on what, if any, progress has been made to address health disparities. The workshop had three major objectives: first, to assess the progress that has been made; second, to consider the scope and effectiveness of efforts to address the social determinants of health disparities; and third, to determine what still needs to be elucidated about efforts to address social determinants and reduce health disparities.
The workshop, Ten Years Later: How Far Have We Come in Reducing Health Disparities?, was organized to further advance the dialogue about health disparities by facilitation of a discussion of the topic among stake-holders,