Disability among ethnic minorities: An analysis of the published literature, 1990-2000

Background: People with disabilities are a minority group. Ethnic minorities with disabilities reflect an even smaller group. According to the Census, there are 260 million people in the U.S. of which, 71 million (27%) are racial/ethnic minorities, 54 million (20%) have a disability, and 7.3 million are ethnic minorities with disabilities ages 15-64. In 1989, Wright and Emner published a review, Ethnic minorities with disabilities: An annotated bibliography of rehabilitation that primarily focused on drug, alcohol and mental health rehabilitation. Scope of the review: To expand, compliment their work and identify public health efforts targeting or including ethnic minorities with disabilities, the CDC, Disability and Health Program conducted a literature search, spanning 1990-2000. The search revealed 140 journal articles, conference papers, monographs and Web publications. CDC examined the publications for authorship, journal source and content and placed each publication into one of seven public health categories.

Findings: Of the 140 publications focused on public health efforts, 25% reported disability prevalence; 21% provided measures of functioning and health; 19% suggested predictors for disability and secondary conditions; 16% reported use of supports and services; 10% reflected studies on health promotion interventions; 6% identified research agendas and policies; and 2% summarized conferences. Three percent were published in cultural health journals.

Conclusion: This body of information on the health and well-being of ethnic minorities with disabilities provides a useful tool for identifying progress, examining gaps, and establishing research priorities and public health activities targeting this population over the next decade. Further analysis is needed.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:  1) identify 7 areas of public health activity, 2) assess how those areas have addressed ethnic minorities with disabilities, and 3) identify gaps in those 7 areas.

Related Web page: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dh