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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Drexel: Studies Link Neighborhood Factors to Health Disparities in African Americans

In a continuing body of work researchers from the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) are working with partner organizations to seek solutions to longstanding differences in health among groups.

Two studies, recently conducted by DSPH researchers, and a team at Drexel’s Urban Health Collaborative, in collaboration with the Health Federation of Philadelphia and the Family Practice Counseling Network (FPCN), looked at healthcare outcomes among African Americans in the city.

Dr. James W. Buehler,  a clinical professor at DSPH, led a study of 1,708 African American adult patients who were recommended for colorectal cancer screening and received care from any of three federally qualified health centers run by the FPCN. The researchers controlled for age, gender, and insurance coverage, and found that those residing in the most racially segregated areas were 10 percent less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer. The findings were published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Dr. Buehler also worked with DSPH assistant professor Dr. Félice Lê-Scherban, on a study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports. They analyzed data on 1,061 African Americans diagnosed with hypertension and 2,633 African Americans suffering from diabetes in Philadelphia. All were patients of federally qualified health centers run by the FPCN. After examining nine neighborhood-level factors, including poverty, education, racial segregation, and neighborhood development, the team found that poor diabetes and hypertension control were more common among those living in highly segregated neighborhoods. Additionally, living in a more walkable neighborhood was associated with better control of hypertension and diabetes.

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