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Projects of the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations
California Medical Association Foundation
Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations Project
Diabetes Health Disparities Convening Report
June 19, 2004

We wish to thank Pfizer Inc. and the Pfizer Foundation for their support of the Network of Ethnic Physicians [NEPO] Health Disparities Framework Project. Support from Pfizer, Inc. enabled us to bring together the project's Expert Panel leadership team whose work is reflected in this report. Through their support, a very diverse and thoughtful group came together on June 19th to share their thoughts on how to strengthen the work of the Network of Ethnic Physicians in addressing health disparities. We also want to extend our thanks to the Pfizer Foundation whose generosity will enable the CMA Foundation to provide grant funds for Network members to address health disparities in their communities.

To our Expert Panel and our Cochairs, Kwabena Adubofour, MD, and Phyllis Preciado, MD, we say thank you for the hours, energy and leadership they are bringing to create the framework ethnic physician organizations will use to address health disparities.

We also thank Senator Deborah Ortiz for sharing her thoughts on the issue of health disparities and diabetes. She has truly challenged ethnic physicians to bring their voice to the policy debates taking shape on these issues in the State Capitol and in local communities.

And, finally, to all who gave up their Saturday and worked throughout the day to provide shape and dimension to the health disparities framework and the diabetes action plan, Thank You. June 19th was a historic event, bringing ethnic physicians, community advocates and government leaders together for the first time to address health disparities. June 19th marked the beginning of this vital, collaborative effort.

Executive Summary
Ethnic physicians and their organizations play important roles in promoting the health of diverse communities. Minority physicians are more likely to practice medicine in communities with a higher percentage of ethnically diverse members. While most minority patients in California still receive care from a health provider of a different ethnic background, minority physicians in California often provide a bridge to greater language and cultural understanding between their colleagues and their communities. Ethnic physicians have a high level of credibility within their communities. In addition, they are credible spokespersons to the media, policy makers, and opinion leaders. They can take complex issues such as health disparities and make them come alive with illustrations from their own practices and life experiences.

The Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations [NEPO] began in 2002 to address a number of critical health issues, including health disparities. Leaders from ethnic physician organizations, community-based organizations, advocacy groups and governmental agencies are now working on a framework to address racial and ethnic health disparities that provides a vehicle for ethnic physician leaders to work in partnership with others to address these issues - one disease at a time. The Network will develop an overarching framework that will be applied to individual health conditions, beginning with type 2 diabetes, in an effort to bring about positive change in the health status ethnic minority populations. The framework addresses health disparities both within the healthcare delivery system and within the community. This framework will provide a document that others can look to for opportunities to partner with ethnic physician organizations to address racial and ethnic health disparities in the areas of prevention, disease management and policy.

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