Dr. Pamies co-authors book on health disparities

by Walter Brooks, UNMC public affairs | September 22, 2005

picture disc.The first book to take a comprehensive look at health care disparities will debut today (Sept. 22) in Atlanta, with a book signing ceremony.

Co-editors and contributing writers for the book, "Multicultural Medicine and Health Disparities," were Rubens Pamies, M.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at UNMC, and David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., interim president of the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and former U.S. Surgeon General. Both will be on hand for the book signing.

The book delves into the cultural aspects of clinical medicine and looks at how health care disparities are evident in the management of certain health conditions.

It arrives at a time of increasing national focus on health disparities. In 1999, in response to an Institute of Medicine report about the pervasive nature of health system inequalities, Congress required the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research to produce a new annual report on health disparities and socio-economic factors in clinical medicine.

Medical schools, in concert with the first annual report in September 2003, have started to institute new content for their curricula to ensure students and residents are prepared to effectively manage patients of color.

"Leading medical journals have ramped up coverage of health disparities within the last few years, and the subject is currently one of the most discussed in medical education, research and practice," Jim Shanahan, executive editor of McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. "It is increasingly being discussed in the lay market as well.

"This is the first time that the medical books division at McGraw-Hill has published a book of this nature. We found it highly informative, yet as textbooks go, quite readable even for non-academics."

The 34 chapters in "Multicultural Medicine and Health Disparities" are divided into three parts: health care disparities across the life span; the disparate burden of disease; and issues in health care.

Readers of the book will find that it:

  • Addresses health disparities throughout the lifespan, from childhood to geriatric considerations.
  • Provides access to relevant clinical issues that all age groups might encounter.
  • Covers essential topics from access to organs for transplantation to dental health to emerging issues in health disparities such as access to online information and alternative medicine.
  • Addresses crucial policy issues that are relevant to reducing and eventually eliminating health care disparities.
  • Includes evidence-based recommendations and guidelines for cultural and genetic approaches to specific diseases and disorders.
  • Includes case studies for helping readers incorporate the general principles and specific clinical guidance into the practice of medicine and provides readers the opportunity to self-assess their knowledge of the issues addressed in the book.

Dr. Pamies was appointed to his current position in 2003. He received his baccalaureate degree from St. John's University, his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1986 and completed a residency in primary care internal medicine at the Cornell-North Shore University Hospital.

In 1989, Dr. Pamies joined the University of South Florida College of Medicine as a staff physician and assistant professor. His interest in minority medical education led him to develop the College of Medicine's first Office of Minority Affairs, where he served as director for two years. He is a former chief of service at the Metropolitan Nashville General Hospital, professor of medicine and chairman of internal medicine at Meharry Medical College and professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

A native of Alabama, Dr. Satcher graduated from Morehouse College in 1963. He received his medical degree and doctorate from Case Western University in 1970. Appointed to his current position in 2004, Dr. Satcher also is director of the National Center for Primary Care at MSM. He served as U.S. Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1998-2002, only the second person in history to hold both positions simultaneously.

Dr. Satcher served as president of Meharry Medical College (1982-93) and as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1993-98).