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C. Social Disparities Arise in Access to Healthcare

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have found that although physicians are in the business of caring for people, many admit that social disparities are negatively affecting access to healthcare. Catherine Dower was a co-author of the recent California Physicians Survey.

Dower: I would say that we are also intrigued by the finding that many physicians do feel that people are receiving different types of care and different quality of care based on their gender or race/ethnicity, or their insurance coverage. And that's very disconcerting to us.

Narrator: Dower says that sensitivity awareness needs to begin in medical school and be reinforced throughout continuing education.

Dower: It should be a warning bell to all of us that we need to do more cultural competence training for our physicians and so that they have a better understanding of cultural differences and they are able to care for people with different backgrounds.

Narrator: California led the nation's charge into managed health care, so this study of the state's physicians may indicate sounding a retreat. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.