Health Services Research & Development

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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the VA Healthcare System

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Cover of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the VA Healthcare System

Investigators: Somnath Saha, MD, MPH, Michele Freeman, MPH, Joahd Toure, MD, Kimberly M Tippens, ND, and Christine Weeks.

Portland VA Medical Center

Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; June 2007.

Download PDF: Complete Report, Executive Summary, Report, Appendices

Summary / Overview

Numerous studies have demonstrated racial and ethnic disparities in health care in the United States. These disparities have been demonstrated in the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, where financial barriers to receiving care are minimized. The VA is committed to delivering high-quality care in an equitable manner, and as such, to eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health care. To inform this effort, the existing evidence on disparities within the VA was systematically reviewed, to address the following objectives:

  1. Determine in which clinical areas racial and ethnic disparities are prevalent within the VA;
  2. Describe what is known about the sources of those disparities; and
  3. Qualitatively synthesize that knowledge to determine the most promising avenues for future research aimed at improving equity in VA health care.

See also


Appendix IV - Evidence Tables (535 KB, MS Excel)

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the VA Healthcare System (VA HSR&D Management e-Brief) (78 KB, PDF)

Saha S, Freeman M, Toure J, Tippens KM, Weeks C, Ibrahim S. Racial and ethnic disparities in the VA health care system: a systematic review. J Gen Intern Med. 2008; 23(5):654-71.