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Health Aff (Millwood). 2008 Jan-Feb;27(1):234-45. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.27.1.234.

Race-neutral versus race-conscious workforce policy to improve access to care.

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  • 1Section of General Internal Medicine, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Oregon, USA.


Access to care for racial and ethnic minority groups, low-income populations, and the un- and underinsured has been problematic despite expansion in the health workforce. Workforce policies that improve access to care are needed, as is funding to support them. Reviewing evidence related to providers' patterns of service to the underserved, this paper concludes that underrepresented minority health professionals have consistently been more likely than those from low socioeconomic backgrounds or the National Health Service Corps to deliver health care to the underserved. These findings have implications for policies and programs that might leverage the workforce to better meet the needs of disadvantaged patients.

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