Wisconsin medical schools launch $3 million effort to address health disparities | Local News

Wisconsin medical schools launch $3 million effort to address health disparities | Local News

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Blacks in Wisconsin have higher rates of cancer and sexually transmitted diseases than other groups, and worse outcomes for stroke, diabetes and asthma, stemming in part from more poverty and less education, according to the state Department of Health Services.

A key disparity in Wisconsin, and in Dane County, has been infant mortality. In 2016-18, the Black infant mortality rate in the county was 12 deaths per 1,000 births, compared to 4.3 deaths per 1,000 births for white babies. The rate was 7.8 for Hispanics and 4.4 for Asians.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted disparities in the state. Compared to white residents, Hispanics have 1.7 times greater case rates, Blacks have 2.1 times greater hospitalization rates, and American Indians have 1.5 times greater death rates, the state health department says.

Differences are also seen in COVID-19 vaccination rates, with 27.5% of Blacks, 33.9% of American Indians, 37.6% of Hispanics, 47.4% of whites and 50.8% of Asians statewide having received at least one dose, as of Friday. Other records list unknown or other race.



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“We anticipate benefits to patients in both rural and urban areas because we know that disparities exist in multiple settings in Wisconsin and have deepened even more because of the pandemic,” Richard Moss, senior associate dean at the UW medical school, said in a statement announcing the new effort.

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