The last thing I did on my way out of my (unfinished) PhD program was write an encyclopedia entry for serious publisher on communication research of health care disparities. I may never know how they got my name, but I poured everything I had into this project and was delighted when it was accepted without revisions. A few days ago (two years later) I received notice that the Sage Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods has been published. I’ll spare you all 1,700 words, but the opening paragraph gives you the idea:
“The concepts of health disparities and health care disparities refer to the differences in health and health care between population groups in which socially disadvantaged people have worse health outcomes and access to health care than other groups. Health disparities means that some groups (generally based on race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status) experience a higher burden of illness, injury, disability, or mortality than other groups. Health care disparities means that these groups have less access to care, health care coverage (insurance), and when they do have health care, it is typically of poorer quality than that of other groups. These issues are important subjects for communication research with regard to message development, dissemination, and effects, as well as patient–provider communication and provider cultural competence. This entry examines some of the underlying causes of health and health care disparities, reviews organizational and governmental attempts to reduce those inequities, describes approaches that can help reduce the disparities, and concludes with an overview of how communication research can play a role in reducing health and health care disparities.” (emphasis added)
Given that the whole thing costs almost $700, I’m unlikely to ever own my first published (non-journal) work, but I can share the PDF with you if you like, eventually. The online PDF version should be at http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781483381411.n225 by the end of May.