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Special Issue "Minority Health Issues and Health Disparities"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Monica Webb Hooper

Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-216-368-5643
Fax: +1-216-368-8189
Interests: clinical health psychology; biobehavioral oncology; minority health; cancer health disparities; cancer prevention and control; cancer risk behaviors; health behavior change; tobacco use; obesity/weight management; stress processes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on minority health and health disparities in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The venue is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph. 

The study of minority health and disparities is important globally. Multiple “minority” groups across the world face a disproportionate incidence and undue burden of health conditions that lead to disability, low quality of life, and mortality. By definition, minority groups are smaller in proportion to the dominant social group and are assigned based on categorical characteristics, such as sex, race/ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, geography, and citizenship status. These groups tend to experience social and health-related disadvantages relative to the dominant group, which may be exacerbated by membership in multiple minority groups (i.e., intersectionality). The definition of “health disparities” differs across institutions. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines health disparities as significant differences between populations. In contrast, the definitions offered by the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Healthy People 2020 recognize that health disparities are closely linked with environmental, economic, and social disadvantage.

Multidisciplinary researchers, practitioners, health systems, and policy makers have focused on improving minority health and reducing health (and healthcare) disparities for decades. Given the complexity and persistence of minority health concerns and health disparities, however, continued research is needed to make significant advances toward the aspirational goal of the highest level of health for all. Such work has the potential to inform the development of multi-level strategies for improving population and global health.

This Special Issue is open to the subject area of minority health and health disparities. The keywords listed below highlight of some of the possible areas of interest.

Prof. Dr. Monica Webb Hooper
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Minority health
  • Health disparities
  • Etiology
  • Social determinants of health
  • Environmental determinants of health
  • Behavioral determinants of health
  • Access to care
  • Barriers to care
  • Policy
  • Healthcare costs
  • Discrimination
  • Mental health
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Stress processes
  • Gene–environment interaction
  • Prevention
  • Risk and protective factors
  • Treatment
  • Interventions
  • Epidemiology
  • Multi-morbidity
  • Chronic illness
  • Infant mortality and maternal health
  • Smart and connected communities
  • Systems science
  • Individual risk factors
  • Early life adversity
  • Lifespan
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Health system level factors
  • Community engaged research

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Decomposing Income-Related Inequalities in Self-Reported Depression and Self-Rated Health Among Married Immigrants in South Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1869; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101869
Received: 16 April 2019 / Revised: 23 May 2019 / Accepted: 24 May 2019 / Published: 27 May 2019
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Abstract
Health inequalities among immigrant minorities have been under-researched in South Korea. This study, therefore, measured the extent of income-related inequalities in self-reported depression and self-rated health (SRH) among married immigrants in South Korea and decomposed them into sociodemographic determinants using data from the [...] Read more.
Health inequalities among immigrant minorities have been under-researched in South Korea. This study, therefore, measured the extent of income-related inequalities in self-reported depression and self-rated health (SRH) among married immigrants in South Korea and decomposed them into sociodemographic determinants using data from the 2015 National Survey of Multicultural Families (n = 15,231). The mean age of this sample was 37.8 years (SD = 10.8) and the mean duration of residence was 10.1 years (SD = 7.4). Eighty-five percent were female, and of these, 86.5% were from low/middle-income countries. Of these married immigrants, 34.6% reported experiences of depressive symptoms in the past year, and 9.5% reported their current health to be poor or very poor (weighted). The results also indicated substantial pro-rich health inequalities with the Erreygers concentration index of −0.1298 for self-reported depression and that of −0.1231 for poor SRH. Socioeconomic positions, reflected in income, subjective social status, and employment status, alongside satisfaction with a spouse, appeared to have much greater contributions to the overall inequality than demographics and type of migration. These findings suggest that social welfare policies and programmes can play important roles in reducing health inequalities that are ‘avoidable and unnecessary’ among married immigrants in South Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minority Health Issues and Health Disparities)
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Open AccessArticle
Use of the Phase-Based Model of Smoking Treatment to Guide Intervention Development for Persons Living with HIV Who Self-Identify as African American Tobacco Smokers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1703; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101703
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
Cigarette smoking is highly prevalent among persons living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (PLWH), with rates as high 50% as compared to 14% in the general U.S. population. Tobacco use causes morbidity and mortality in PLWH, and tobacco-related harm is substantially higher [...] Read more.
Cigarette smoking is highly prevalent among persons living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (PLWH), with rates as high 50% as compared to 14% in the general U.S. population. Tobacco use causes morbidity and mortality in PLWH, and tobacco-related harm is substantially higher in PLWH than smokers in the general population, providing the scientific premise for developing effective tobacco cessation interventions in this population. To better address this issue, we conducted six focus group sessions with 45 African American smokers who are living with HIV to understand the barriers to smoking cessation and the strategies that would be helpful to overcome these barriers. We organized our findings by the Phase-Based Model of Smoking Treatment to understand the intervention components that are needed at each phase to help PLWH successfully quit smoking. Participants in our focus group sessions articulated key components for incorporation into tobacco cessation intervention for PLWH: a personalized plan for quitting, reminders about that plan, and a support system. Participants thought that their HIV and tobacco use were disassociated. Participants described barriers to the use of pharmacotherapy, including adverse side effects of the gum and patch and concerns about the negative health effects of some oral medications. Substance use was identified as a commonly co-occurring condition as well as a barrier to successfully ceasing to smoke tobacco products. In summary, these findings offer information on the components of a tobacco cessation intervention for PLWH, namely reminders, a support system, substance use treatment, and monitoring to prevent relapse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minority Health Issues and Health Disparities)
Open AccessArticle
Impact of a Culturally Tailored mHealth Medication Regimen Self-Management Program upon Blood Pressure among Hypertensive Hispanic Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071226
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 6 April 2019
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Abstract
Background: Uncontrolled hypertension (HTN) and medication nonadherence are more prominent among Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic whites and African Americans. Advances in wireless health technology enable real-time monitoring of medication adherence (MA) and blood pressure (BP), facilitating timely patient–provider communication including tailored reinforcement/motivational feedback [...] Read more.
Background: Uncontrolled hypertension (HTN) and medication nonadherence are more prominent among Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic whites and African Americans. Advances in wireless health technology enable real-time monitoring of medication adherence (MA) and blood pressure (BP), facilitating timely patient–provider communication including tailored reinforcement/motivational feedback to patients and quicker titration changes by providers. The purpose of the current study was to conduct a 9-month smartphone-enabled efficacy trial addressing MA and BP control among Hispanic adults with uncontrolled HTN and poor MA. Methods: The research design was a 9-month, two-arm efficacy trial including an experimental (Smartphone Med Adherence Stops Hypertension, SMASH) group and an enhanced standard care (ESC) group. SMASH participants utilized a SMASH app which interfaced with a Bluetooth-enabled BP monitor for BP self-monitoring and an electronic medication tray. The ESC participants received text messages including links to PDFs and brief video clips containing healthy lifestyle tips for attention control. Results: Participants were 54 Hispanic adults (mean age: 46.5 years) with uncontrolled HTN. They were randomly assigned to either the SMASH (n = 26) or ESC group (n = 28). At baseline, no participants had controlled systolic BP (SBP). Baseline group averages for SBP between the SC and SMASH groups did not differ (150.7 and 152.3 mmHg, respectively; p = 0.53). At the 1, 3, 6, and 9-month time points, SBP averages were significantly lower in the SMASH versus SC groups (month 1: 125.3 vs. 140.6; month 3: 120.4 vs. 137.5, month 6: 121.2 vs. 145.7 mmHg; month 9: 121.8 vs. 145.7, respectively; all p-values <0.01). At months 3, 6, and 9 there was a significant difference between the percentage of participants meeting the 7th Joint National Committee cutoffs for SBP control in the SC and SMASH groups (month 3: 62.5 vs. 92.0%; month 6: 57.9 and 94.4%, month 9: 27.8 and 92.3%, respectively; all p-values ≤0.01). Average medical regimen adherence, as indicated by timestamped medication intake and BP monitoring for the SMASH group, ranged from 89.1 to 95.2% across the 9-month trial. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that our culturally tailored smartphone-enabled medical regimen self-management program may be an effective solution for the promotion of MA, resulting in statistically and clinically significant reductions in SBP among Hispanic adults with uncontrolled HTN. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minority Health Issues and Health Disparities)
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Open AccessArticle
Cigarette Smoking among Economically Disadvantaged African-American Older Adults in South Los Angeles: Gender Differences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1208; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071208
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 23 March 2019 / Accepted: 27 March 2019 / Published: 4 April 2019
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (551 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current study aims to explore gender differences in the risk of cigarette smoking among African-American (AA) older adults who live in economically disadvantaged urban areas of southern Los Angeles. This cross-sectional study enrolled 576 older AA adults (age range between 65 and [...] Read more.
The current study aims to explore gender differences in the risk of cigarette smoking among African-American (AA) older adults who live in economically disadvantaged urban areas of southern Los Angeles. This cross-sectional study enrolled 576 older AA adults (age range between 65 and 96 years) who were residing in Service Planning Area 6 (SPA 6), one of the most economically challenged areas in southern Los Angeles. All participants had cardiometabolic disease (CMD). Data were collected using structured face-to-face interviews. Demographic factors (age and gender), socioeconomic status (educational attainment and financial difficulty), health (number of comorbid medical conditions and depressive symptoms), and health behaviors (current alcohol drinking and current smoking) were measured. Logistic regressions were used to analyze the data without and with interaction terms between gender and current drinking, depressive symptoms, and financial difficulty. AA men reported more smoking than AA women (25.3% versus 9.3%; p < 0.05). Drinking showed a stronger association with smoking for AA men than AA women. Depressive symptoms, however, showed stronger effects on smoking for AA women than AA men. Gender did not interact with financial difficulty with regard to current smoking. As AA older men and women differ in psychological and behavioral determinants of cigarette smoking, gender-specific smoking cessation interventions for AA older adults who live in economically deprived urban areas may be more successful than interventions and programs that do not consider gender differences in determinants of smoking. Gender-tailored smoking cessation programs that address drinking for AA men and depression for AA women may help reduce the burden of smoking in AA older adults in economically disadvantaged urban areas. Given the non-random sampling, there is a need for replication of these findings in future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minority Health Issues and Health Disparities)
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Open AccessArticle
Education Policy for Migrant Children in Thailand and How It Really Happens; A Case Study of Ranong Province, Thailand
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030430
Received: 13 January 2019 / Revised: 28 January 2019 / Accepted: 31 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
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Abstract
Health and education are interrelated, and it is for this reason that we studied the education of migrant children. The Thai Government has ratified ‘rights’ to education for all children in Thailand since 2005. However, there are gaps in knowledge concerning the implementation [...] Read more.
Health and education are interrelated, and it is for this reason that we studied the education of migrant children. The Thai Government has ratified ‘rights’ to education for all children in Thailand since 2005. However, there are gaps in knowledge concerning the implementation of education policy for migrants, such as whether and to what extent migrant children receive education services according to policy intentions. The objective of this study is to explore the implementation of education policy for migrants and the factors that determine education choices among them. A cross-sectional qualitative design was applied. The main data collection technique was in-depth interviews with 34 key informants. Thematic analysis with an intersectionality approach was used. Ranong province was selected as the main study site. Results found that Migrant Learning Centers (MLCs) were the preferable choice for most migrant children instead of Thai Public Schools (TPSs), even though MLCs were not recognized as formal education sites. The main reason for choosing MLCs was because MLCs provided a more culturally sensitive service. Teaching in MLCs was done in Myanmar’s language and the MLCs offer a better chance to pursue higher education in Myanmar if migrants migrate back to their homeland. However, MLCs still face budget and human resources inadequacies. School health promotion was underserviced in MLCs compared to TPSs. Dental service was underserviced in most MLCs and TPSs. Implicit discrimination against migrant children was noted. The Thai Government should view MLCs as allies in expanding education coverage to all children in the Thai territory. A participatory public policy process that engages all stakeholders, including education officials, health care providers, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), MLCs’ representatives, and migrants themselves is needed to improve the education standards of MLCs, keeping their culturally-sensitive strengths. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minority Health Issues and Health Disparities)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Narrative Review: The (Mental) Health Consequences of the Northern Iraq Offensive of ISIS in 2014 for Female Yezidis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2435; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132435
Received: 3 June 2019 / Revised: 27 June 2019 / Accepted: 3 July 2019 / Published: 9 July 2019
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Abstract
The Yezidis who represent a religious minority living in Northern Iraq were particularly affected by the persecution by ISIS (Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, syn.: ISIL—Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant) that gained power after 2013. This paper gives an overview [...] Read more.
The Yezidis who represent a religious minority living in Northern Iraq were particularly affected by the persecution by ISIS (Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, syn.: ISIL—Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant) that gained power after 2013. This paper gives an overview of the events and the mental health consequences on the Yezidi community as well as associated influences on affected female Yezidis. Based on a systematic literature search, the aspects of “Persecution by ISIS and actual situation of the Yezidi community”, “Gender-specific aspects of the persecution and its consequences”, “Mental health of the affected women”, and “Cultural–historical and religious context” are worked out. Research indicates a high burden of health strain and mental health problems in the surviving Yezidi women, especially post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and depression. Concerning transgenerational trauma, the recent genocide has revived past experiences in the history of the community. Like the narrow cultural and religious rules of the community, this can be both a resource and a burden. The actual extent of the attacks is neither predictable for the affected individuals nor for the community, consequences could also be passed onto descendants. Long-term care and support of the affected persons, their descendants, and the Yezidi community seems indispensable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minority Health Issues and Health Disparities)
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Open AccessReview
What Works? Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Blood-Borne Viruses in Migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia Living in High-Income Countries: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1287; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071287
Received: 12 March 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 5 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
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Abstract
Migration is a significant risk factor for the acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). An increasing proportion of these infections in high-income countries, such as Australia, are among migrants moving from low and [...] Read more.
Migration is a significant risk factor for the acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). An increasing proportion of these infections in high-income countries, such as Australia, are among migrants moving from low and middle-income countries with a high prevalence of HIV, HBV and other STIs. This systematic review explored the prevention and control of HIV, HBV and other STIs in migrants (>18 years) from Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa living in high-income countries with universal health care. This systematic review followed PRISMA guidelines and was registered with PROSPERO. Six academic databases were searched for articles published between 2002 and 2018. Sixteen peer-reviewed articles met the inclusion criteria, consisting of fourteen quantitative and two qualitative studies conducted in Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Three levels of interventions were identified: individual, community and structural interventions. Most studies addressed factors at an individual level; interventions were most commonly outreach testing for HIV, HBV and other STIs. Few studies addressed structural factors or demonstrated comprehensive evaluation of interventions. Limited population-specific findings could be determined. To prevent further transmission of HIV, HBV and other STIs, comprehensive public health approaches must consider the complex interactions between migration, health care system determinants, and broader socioeconomic and sociocultural factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minority Health Issues and Health Disparities)
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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