Racial and ethnic minorities in the United States tend to have poorer access to care and receive lower quality care than non-minorities. The Institute of Medicine’s 2002 report Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care generated national awareness of the need to reduce inequalities in care.

In response, many of the nation’s health care stakeholders are seeking to reduce health disparities by improving health care services, delivery, and access for members of racial and ethnic groups. This issue brief, which draws from CHCS efforts funded by The Commonwealth Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, reports on practical strategies that purchasers and plans nationally are implementing to address documented gaps in care. It highlights the need for standardized collection of race, ethnicity and language data, culturally competent approaches, as well as the involvement and commitment of multiple stakeholders.