Lisa A. Cooper , M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and
Health Policy & Management, The Johns Hopkins University

Racial Disparities in Healthcare:
Why Communication Matters

February 3, 2006

12:00 - 1:30 PM

Colonial Penn Center Auditorium


Dr. Lisa A. Cooper is Associate Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a board-certified general internist, health services and outcomes researcher, and medical educator, and a member of The Johns Hopkins Hospital Medical Staff.

Dr. Cooper’s research has examined patient-centered strategies for improving outcomes and overcoming racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. Her work has better defined the roles of patient-physician communication, physician cultural competence, and patient attitudes in understanding and eliminating disparities in healthcare. She is currently implementing and evaluating the impact of interventions that target physicians and patients to improve the quality of communication, treatment, outcomes for cardiovascular disease and depression in primary care settings.

Dr. Cooper has authored several articles and book chapters including a chapter on patient-physician communication published in the Institute of Medicine ’s 2003 Report, “Unequal Treatment”. She is a member of the Society of General Internal Medicine, the American College of Physicians, the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy, and The American Society for Clinical Investigation.

The roles of patient-physician communication, trust, and social distance (including racial, ethnic, and language discordance) are important in understanding healthcare disparities. A conceptual model that relates patients’ personal and financial barriers and structural dimensions of healthcare with healthcare processes and outcomes will be presented, as well as a review of pertinent studies and a description of new interventions to eliminate healthcare disparities that are being tested in clinical trials, and the implications of this body of work for clinical practice, education and training of health professionals, healthcare policy, and future research will be discussed.

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