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Study: Black, Hispanic Children Suffer Bleak Living Conditions

Black, Hispanic Children Suffer Bleak Living Conditions

Living conditions experienced by children in the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas continues to show a depressing picture for Black and Hispanic children, according to a new report from the Harvard School of Public Health.

The report, “Children Left Behind: How Metropolitan Areas Are Failing America’s Children,” is based on data drawn from a new Web site called The Web site was developed by HSPH in partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Health and with support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

According to the report, some of the best metropolitan areas for Black kids are Denver; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C. The best locations for Hispanic children were Ann Arbor, Mich.; Cincinnati; and Washington, D.C. The best cities for Asian children were Austin, Texas; Baltimore; and Washington, D.C. And for White kids, the best cities were Ann Arbor; Boston; and San Francisco.

The worse metro areas for Black children were Buffalo, N.Y.; Chicago; and New York. For Hispanic children, the worst cities were Bakersfield, Calif.; Providence, R.I.; and Springfield, Ill. The worst cities for Asian children were Bakersfield; Fresno, Calif.; and New York. And for White children, the worst cities were Bakersfield; El Paso, Texas; and New York.

Using a measure of neighborhood socioeconomic conditions, the analysis showed that Black children had the worst scores for indicators of health, family income and home ownership, neighborhood income and home ownership, residential and school segregation and school poverty. In most cases, Hispanic children were the next worse off.

The report also found that average White and Black students attend schools where most of the student population is of the student’s own race. Of all groups, Asian students tend to be the most integrated and to attend schools that most closely mirror the composition of students in the metropolitan areas where they live.

According to lead co-author Dr. Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, an associate professor of society, human development and health at HSPH, the report focused on children because she says they “are the future of the country, and we are failing them.

“The analysis revealed that not only do Black and Hispanic children literally live in different metropolitan neighborhoods than do other children, but that Black and Hispanic children face life experiences fraught with dangers to their well-being,” she continues. “Perhaps the first policymaking need is alleviating child poverty. Reducing neighborhood and school segregation should follow closely.

Black, White Elders Trust U.S. Medical School Graduates

Researchers at Shaw University say that international medical school graduates, called IMGs, do provide necessary health care access to African-Americans and the rural population, even though cultural and communication barriers may undermine their contribution.

In “Comparing United States versus International Medical School Graduate Physicians Who Serve African-American and White Elderly,” researchers compared an analysis of 341 physicians and 3,250 senior citizens in 1986 with an analysis of 211 physicians and 1,222 senior citizens in 1998.

“Over time, IMGs treated more African-American elders, and those who had less education, lower incomes, less insurance, were in poorer health and who lived in rural areas,” said the report, published in the journal Health Services Research.

Although both Black and White populations were unsure of where to go for medical care, White senior citizens in the hands of IMGs were less satisfied than those who were treated by American medical school graduates.

“Both races had perceptions of IMGs that relate to issues of communication, cultural competency, ageism and unnecessary expenses. IMGs do provide necessary and needed access to medical care for underserved African-Americans and rural populations,” wrote Dr. Daniel L. Howard and colleagues at Shaw’s Institute for Health, Social and Community Research. “However, it is unclear whether concerns regarding cultural competency, communication and the quality of care undermine the contribution IMGs make to these populations.”

A similar study has been conducted by researchers at Wayne State University. In “Effects of Perceived Racism, Cultural Mistrust and Trust in Providers on Satisfaction with Care,” researchers questioned 145 low-income Black participants at two primary care clinics. The study found that perceptions of racism and mistrust of Whites had a significant negative effect on trust and health care satisfaction.

“Improving health outcomes for African-Americans requires a broader understanding of cultural competence, one that addresses societal racism and its impact on provider-patient relationships,” wrote Dr. Ramona Benkert and colleagues in the Wayne State report, published in the Journal of the National Medical Association.

Asian Pacific Islander Youth Don’t Have Polarized Behavior

New research by the University of Chicago shows that teenagers of Asian Pacific Island descent do not have polarized behavior, which typically portrays them as high achievers who are prone to get into trouble.

A survey of more than 13,000 teenagers showed that a student’s GPA is a strong predictor of behavior, regardless of race. The polarized image gets further support from highly publicized crime among Asian Americans, including a brutal murder by high achieving Asian American teens in California in 1993. That crime was the basis for a 2003 film, “Better Luck Tomorrow.”

“This study is a first step in debunking the stereotype of Asian Pacific Island youth, especially that which depicts them as having polarized behavior,” says study author Dr. Yoonsun Choi, an assistant professor at UC’s School of Social Service Administration.

The stereotype of API youth which characterizes them as being simultaneously high achieving and prone to delinquent behavior comes from studies that look at group behavior rather than individual behavior, Choi says. Asian American young people are the highest academically achieving ethnic group in the country. At the same time, some API youth exhibit criminal behavior.

Like youth of all races, Asian Americans with high GPAs report many fewer problems with crime, pregnancy and alcohol abuse, according to the paper, “Academic Achievement and Problem Behaviors among Asian Pacific Islander American Adolescents” published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

“It is critical that interventions be designed to appropriately respond to the needs of diverse racial and ethnic groups, and not be driven by stereotypes or assumed needs,” Choi says.

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