Scott Scanlon ,, Feb 25, 2024

White New Yorkers have received the highest health system performance, scoring in the 89th percentile among all population groups nationally on the Commonwealth Fund report. Black residents experienced the lowest health system performance in the state, scoring in the 52nd percentile.

Many states performed poorly when it comes to the health of women, mothers and infants, with high and increasing rates of maternal and infant mortality and inequities in pregnancy-related outcomes for Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women. Things worsened during the pandemic. New York State performed better than average in this area, but health officials noted room for improvement.

Nora O’Brien-Suric, president of the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, said its foundation is focused on investing more in doula programs because research has shown better maternal health outcomes with low-income pregnant people who see doulas for prenatal care and childbirth.

New York ranked above the national average in percentages of residents with primary care physicians, the numbers of insured adults, those who receive mammograms, cervical cancer screenings or childhood vaccines.

An overall ranking for American Indians/Alaskan Natives in New York wasn’t available because of insufficient data. Yet the group had a higher rate than the national average of people who were uninsured, smoked and were obese. The health care quality for Asian Americans/Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islander populations was found to be “worse than average.”

The quality of health care and access to it for Black New Yorkers was better than the national average but lower than that of white New York residents.

“Populations of color experience incredible health disparities,” said Dr. Timothy Murphy, director of the University at Buffalo Community Health Equity Research Institute, which was established in 2019 to research the causes of health inequities and develop and test solutions to eliminate health disparities in the region.

“So for example, in the City of Buffalo, a Black person dies 10 to 12 years younger than a white person,” Murphy said. “If we could solve all the health care access issues, for example, for African Americans in Buffalo, it’s estimated that would improve health outcomes by about 15%, which means if we’re really going to improve health outcomes, we have to address these broader social determinants of health.”

Those include poverty, housing, substandard housing and lack of education, he said. These factors can have a greater influence than genetics or access to health care services.




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