The Zero Disparities Committee is a working group comprised of members from the CHA Departments of Community Health Improvement and the Institute for Community Health. The Committee’s mission is to identify and address disparities in disease burden, service utilization, and health outcomes among the diverse populations served by the Cambridge Health Alliance. The Committee regularly discusses ongoing work with advisers from multiple CHA departments.
According to the 2003 Institute of Medicine report "Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care," racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. receive lower quality of care even when insurance status, income, age, and illness severity are comparable with non-minorities. These disparities in health care, which occur in the broader context of historic and contemporary socioeconomic and racial inequality, contribute to poorer health outcomes for minorities across a wide range of health conditions and diseases.
Accurate, patient-identified race, ethnicity, and language (REL) data is essential for identifying any disparities that may exist among the communities we serve. To improve the quality of the REL data collected from patients,. The Committee has developed trainings on best practices for REL data collection as well as resources to aid staff in data collection. The Committee has also developed a framework for using detailed ethnicity data to identify health disparities, and regularly assesses key clinical measures using this framework. The Committee disseminates data within CHA and to community partners in order to facilitate development of clinical and community-based strategies to address health disparities.