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Minority Health Bill Approved by Senate

On October 26, the Senate amended and approved, by unanimous consent, a bill (S. 1880) to address racial and ethnic health disparities. The Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000 is sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA). A similar measure (H.R. 3250) was approved by the House Commerce Committee on July 26 (see The Source, 7/31/00, p. 9).

As approved, S. 1880 would

  • establish a National Center for Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH);
  • establish Centers of Excellence for Research Education and Training at the NIH;
  • require the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to conduct research on how to improve the quality and outcomes of health care services for minority populations and the causes of health disparities;
  • provide grants for health professional education curriculum development, as well as develop a continuing medical education incentive program;
  • require the National Academy of Sciences to study the data collection systems of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with respect to race and ethnicity;
  • allow HHS to aid in the development, implementation, and evaluation of health professions education in decreasing disparities in health care outcomes, including cultural competency as a method of eliminating health disparities; and
  • establish a national public awareness campaign to inform the public and health care professionals about health disparities in minority and underserved populations.
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