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The Path to Equitable Health Care

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The path to achieving equity for racial and ethnic underserved communities, which are at risk for experiencing health and health care disparities, has not been an easy one. The challenges of these disparities came to national attention in 1985 with the Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Black and Minority Health during President Reagan's administration (often referred to as the Heckler Report; Heckler 1985; Gamble and Stone 2006). In 1989, the American Medical Association (AMA) noted unjustifiable differences in treatments provided to African Americans that must be eliminated (AMA, 1990). And in 2003, the Institute of Medicine's landmark report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care comprehensively documented continuing, pervasive disparities in our health care system (Smedley et al. 2003).

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