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Kaufman, Jay S. (2008). Dissecting Disparities. Medical Decision Making, 28(1), 9-11.


George Bernard Shaw once complained that science never answered a question without posing 10 more. In keeping with this quip, Gaskin and Frick provide an important new result while at the same time raising many more interesting questions. Some of these questions are obviously the next logical steps in this research program of understanding the role of patient volition in the etiology of health disparities. Other unresolved questions prompted by these findings are more fundamental. The broader context of this research is a society in which racial/ethnic health disparities are pervasive in form and alarming in magnitude. This is mirrored, not surprisingly, by an equally disturbing picture when one looks specifically at provision of medical care. Minorities, especially African Americans, are seen less often by specialists and receive fewer preventive procedures (e.g., mammograms), fewer cardiovascular procedures, fewer lung resections for cancer, fewer kidney and bone marrow transplants, fewer antiretrovirals for HIV infection, fewer antidepressants for depression, fewer admissions for chest pain, and so on.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Medical Decision Making


Kaufman, Jay S.