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Office of Health Equity

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 Data

Visualizations and Dashboards

National Veteran Health Equity Report - FY13

National Veteran Health Equity Report FY 13 CoverThe National Veteran Health Equity Report details patterns and provides comparative rates of health conditions for vulnerable Veteran groups. Specifically, this report is designed to provide basic comparative information on the sociodemographics, utilization patterns and rates of diagnosed health conditions among the groups over which the VHA Office of Health Equity (OHE) has responsibility with respect to monitoring, evaluating and acting on identified disparities in access, use, care, quality and outcomes. The report allows the VA, Veterans, and stakeholders to monitor the care vulnerable Veterans receive and set goals for improving their care.

PDF, ePUB, Visualization Tool

 Awareness

Information Briefs

Asian American Veterans DisparitiesAsian American Veterans Disparities

This Information Brief highlights research by Dr. Donna Washington and her colleagues at the Health Equity-QUERI National Partnered Evaluation Center on rates of non-communicable diseases – high blood pressure, diabetes, and abnormal cholesterol levels that have lifestyle related risk factors, such as physical inactivity and food choices. The Information Brief also highlights The Battle Creek VA Medical Center Healthier Living with Chronic Conditions (HLCC) workshop series helps to build Veterans’ confidence to self-manage their chronic medical conditions and the San Francisco VA Health Care System’s Strength and Wellness Program and its collaboration with the San Francisco YMCA Association to create a community-based fitness program for Veteran patients.

African American Women Heart Disease DisparitiesAfrican American Women Heart Disease Disparities

This Information Brief highlights research by Dr. Donna Washington and her colleagues at the Health Equity-QUERI National Partnered Evaluation Center on rates of heart disease in African American Women Veterans. The Information Brief also highlights videos of Veterans discussing their experiences with high blood pressure offering tips on taking medications, talking to health care providers, and making other healthy behavior changes and the long-standing national partnership between VA and the American Heart Association to bring awareness and knowledge about heart disease and stroke.

American Indian/Alaska Native VeteransAmerican Indian/Alaska Native Veterans Fact Sheet

This Information Brief highlights research by Dr. Donna Washington and her colleagues at the Health Equity-QUERI National Partnered Evaluation Center on rates of mental health conditions amongst American Indian/Alaska Native Veterans. The Information Brief also highlights the importance of Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), which deliver primary care through an integrated, team-based approach, in managing care and addressing social determinants of health and mental health conditions, especially for American Indian/Alaska Native Veterans.

Hispanic VeteransHispanic Veterans

This Information Brief highlights research by Dr. Donna Washington and her colleagues at the Health Equity-QUERI National Partnered Evaluation Center on rates of diabetes amongst Hispanic Veterans. The Information Brief also highlights the OHE-supported project with VA Heart of Texas Health Care Network (VISN 17) that developed and delivered a culturally sensitive MOVE! curriculum aimed to address the specific needs of Hispanic Veterans with diabetes in Texas.

Focus on Health Equity and Action Cyberseminars

Military Service History and VA Benefit Utilization for Minority VeteransMilitary Service History and VA Benefit Utilization for Minority Veterans - April 27, 2017

VHA's Office of Health Equity is pleased to partner with the VA Center for Minority Veterans for April’s session in observation of National Minority Health Month. April’s Focus on Health Equity and Action Cyberseminar session spotlights the recently released "Minority Veterans Report: Military Service History and VA Benefit Utilization Statistics" report from the VA Data Governance and Analytics office. This new report increases our understanding of racial and ethnic minority Veterans, their use of VA benefits and services, as well as the impact of military service on their lives post-military. April’s session will: 1) discuss the new report and the role of social and economic determinants of health; 2) highlight VA actions to advance health equity for minority Veterans; and 3) explore additional ways to best to serve these American heroes.

Race/Ethnicity Data Collection in the Veterans Health AdministrationRace/Ethnicity Data Collection in the Veterans Health Administration - April 28, 2016

Complete, reliable, and consistent measurement of racial and ethnic background in healthcare is critical for valid health equity and disparity studies. However, despite many efforts, missing data on race/ethnicity are common in VA data. The Office of Health Equity partnered with the Health Equity Research Outreach Initiatives Coin (HEROIC) to explore ways for addressing this gap. This Cyberseminar will share the findings with regard to: (1) patient and provider attitudes, challenges and preferences for how to collect race/ethnicity and (2) statistical approaches to address missing race/ethnicity data in the VAMC.

Findings from the VISN 4 Hypertension Racial Disparities Quality Improvement ProjectFindings from the VISN 4 Hypertension Racial Disparities Quality Improvement Project - January 21, 2016

The purpose of the presentation is to share the findings from the evaluation of the VISN 4 quality improvement project to reduce racial disparities in hypertension management. The presentation will 1) highlight the partnership of Office of Health Equity, VISN 4 and CHERP in pursuit of health equity including how the project was conceived, 2) describe the nature and intensity of specific strategies implemented at individual facilities to reduce blood pressure disparities, 3) discuss the barriers and facilitators to implementing specific strategies, and 4) present data regarding the impact of the project on disparities over time. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of recommendations gleaned from the project to guide future quality improvement efforts focused on disparities in health or health care.

Partnership in Pursuit of Health Equity: Focus on Minority VeteransPartnership in Pursuit of Health Equity: Focus on Minority Veterans - January 24, 2014

The purpose of this session is to discuss the VA journey and crucial partnerships towards eliminating health care disparities. It will highlight collaborations with examples from VHA Office of Health Equity, CHERP and HEROIC towards this goal. This Cyberseminar is part of the VA Center for Minority Veterans 20th anniversary events.

VA Research Publications

Health Disparities Evidence-based Synthesis Reviews

VA Health Services Research & Development Publication Briefs

The VA Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) pursues research that underscores all aspects of VA healthcare: patient care, care delivery, health outcomes, cost, and quality.
  • Evidence Review Identifies Modest Mortality Disparities among Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups in VA Healthcare
    To support VA's efforts to better understand the scale and determinants of disparities in racial and ethnic mortality and to develop interventions to reduce disparities, investigators from the VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) Coordinating Center in Portland, OR conducted an evidence review of mortality disparities specific to VA. Findings showed that although VA's equal access healthcare system has reduced many racial/ethnic mortality disparities still present in the private sector, modest mortality disparities persist mainly for black Veterans with conditions that include: stage 4 chronic kidney disease, colon cancer, diabetes, HIV, rectal cancer, and stroke (March 1, 2018).
  • Racial/Ethnic and Gender Variations in Veteran Satisfaction with VA Healthcare
    This study of Veterans' satisfaction with outpatient, inpatient, and specialist care in a diverse sample of Veterans from predominantly minority-serving VAMCs sought to better understand racial/ethnic and gender variations in healthcare satisfaction (March 1, 2018).

External Research and Reports

 Health Outcomes

Journeys with High Blood Pressure

Did you know that some Veterans, including some racial and ethnic minorities, experience higher rates of hypertension? A VA research team created a series of videos of patients discussing their experiences with high blood pressure and offering tips to take medications, talk to their health care providers, and make other changes. According to the 2016 study, Veterans who watched the videos, compared to those who did not watch the videos, reported greater intentions to:
  • Become more physically active;
  • Use salt substitutes;
  • Talk openly with their doctor about hypertension; and
  • Remember to take their hypertension medications.
The Office of Health Equity is pleased to be able to share these videos with Veterans and stakeholders. The short videos below feature stories from Veterans about high blood pressure and important resources.

Module 1 - Journeys with High Blood Pressure

Module 1 Introduction Introduction

Natasha, an Army Veteran who served for 7 years and worked as a medic, highlights the importance of managing high blood pressure in the African American community. Natasha introduces five African American Veterans who successfully manage their blood pressure. As these Veterans share their stories, Natasha reflects on key factors in their journeys that may help you.

Module 1 Danny Danny

Born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Danny shares how the eating habits he developed growing up in the South and while serving in the military lead to his weight gain as a retiree since he no longer exercised daily like a soldier. Eventually, Danny had an episode of blurred vision, was admitted to the emergency room and was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Learn how this Veteran took small steps to get and keep his blood pressure at a normal level. According to Danny, “if you want to live, you can do it.”

Module 1 Morris Morris

Trained as a U.S. Army artillery gunner, Morris travelled many places during his military career after growing up in the small town of Brunson, South Carolina. As an adult, Morris experienced a four day headache that sent him to the emergency room. He learned he had high blood pressure. His heavy drinking made it difficult to control his blood pressure even with medication. Morris shares how the deaths of close family and friends made him stop drinking alcohol and change his eating habits. Now, he is known as the “food inspector” who helps those close him eat healthy.

Module 1 Patricia Patricia

Patricia grew up in Chicago and joined the military along with two of her friends the year her mother died. Years later, she was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Patricia refused to take her medication because she did not like the side effects. A friend who ended up on kidney dialysis due to high blood pressure convinced Patricia to take her medication daily, as prescribed. Learn what Patricia does to manage her high blood pressure in addition to taking her medication.

To view additional videos and module, visit Tools for Veterans.
 Partnerships

VA National Partners

The Office of Health Equity is committed to working closely with our VA colleagues to ensure that Veterans receive appropriate individualized health care in a way that eliminates disparate health outcomes and assures health equity. OHE's VA Partners include:

External Partners

The Office of Health Equity is committed to working closely with other government agencies and non-governmental organizations to ensure that Veterans receive appropriate individualized health care in a way that eliminates disparate health outcomes and assures health equity. OHE's External Partners include:
 Workforce Training

Cultural Competence Training

VHA Providers Explore Unconscious Bias

VHA providers share their stories of creating awareness of unconscious bias within their clinical practice and how bias impacts us all. A bias is a tendency. Most biases are natural. However, biases can cause problems when we are not aware of them and we apply them inappropriately to our everyday choices, which can lead to discriminatory practices and result in poorer health outcomes and experiences for patients. The brief videos were created by the VA Office of Health Equity and Employee Education System in an effort to ensure all Veterans receive high quality and equitable healthcare. The videos were recorded April 2013.

Harvard Implicit Associations Test

The Implicit Association Test measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. This tool may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about.

FDA Clinical Trial Diversity Educational Series

The Office of Health Equity, in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Minority Health, is pleased to share the Inclusion of Veterans in Clinical Trials video series featuring racial and ethnic minority Veterans describing the importance of minorities and Veteran participation in clinical trials. Clinical trials are an important type of research that determine whether medical products like medicines, vaccines, or devices are safe and effective. It is very important to make sure that diverse populations are included in clinical trials. This helps researchers find out if different populations respond to treatment differently and to make sure the population who would most likely benefit from the medical product is included in the clinical trial. – Video 1, Video 2, Podcast