Interventions: Ethnic Issues

Health Promotion/Disease Prevention for Ethnic Elders

Providers should be particularly aware of needs for health promotion/disease prevention strategies for those populations where there are disparities in health status that could be reduced through attention to immunizations and health education and counseling. Some of the more salient examples of the need for health promotion strategies to reduce disparities are discussed below:

Pneumococcal Vaccine

In 2005, the proportion of adults age 65 and over who had ever received a pneumonia vaccine was significantly lower for Blacks (40.4%) than Whites (58.4%). It was also significantly lower for Asians and Hispanics than non-Hispanic Whites, and the gaps for those populations had increased during the prior five years. (AHRQ, 2008).

Influenza Vaccine

In 2002, the percentage of elderly Medicare beneficiaries with influenza vaccination in the past year was significantly lower among Blacks compared with Whites; amongHispanics compared with non-Hispanic Whites; and among poor, near poor, and middle income beneficiaries compared with high income beneficiaries (AHRQ, 2007).


In 2005, the rate of screening for breast cancer among women aged 40 and over were significantly lower for American Indian, Asian and Hispanic women than for non-Hispanic White women (AHRQ, 2008).

Pap Tests

Vietnamese women have been found to have higher rates of cervical cancer than non-Hispanic white women and other Asian women and lower rates of Pap screening (Gomez et al, 2005; Wang et al., 2008).

Screening for Prostate Cancer

Older African American men have the highest prevalence of prostate cancer in the U.S., and present at later stages, so screening is crucial (Williams & Powell, 2009).

Diabetes Prevention

In view of the much higher prevalence of diabetes among African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, and several of the Asian subpopulations (See Table 2-4), glucose screening, and health education and counseling for those at increased risk are very important.

Cardiovascular and Cardiac Disease Prevention

Blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening for dyslipidemia, and health education on diet, exercise, and appropriate weight are very important especially for older African Americans who are at increased risk for stroke and heart disease (Hummer et al., 2004)