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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 56(3); 2013 > Article
Journal of the Korean Medical Association 2013;56(3):213-219.
Published online March 19, 2013.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5124/jkma.2013.56.3.213   
Role of physician in reducing health inequity
Chang Yup Kim
School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. cykim@snu.ac.kr
Abstract
The role of physicians in reducing health inequity has been regarded only partial and anecdotal by most policymakers. Clinicians, primary care physicians in particular, do not have sufficient opportunities to be engaged in activities dealing with health equity. However, physicians are playing a key role in providing health care and health-related programs, usually interwoven with inequities in health and health care utilization. As a result, a more active role for physicians must be identified under the scheme of a comprehensive strategy in combating inequity in health. From the perspective of mediating factors linking social determinants of health and inequitable outcomes in health and health care, health behaviors, access, and processes of care are identified as potential areas for physicians' engagement. 'Health equity capacity' is emphasized as a cross-cutting tool to empower physicians to address inequity in their clinical practices. More broadly, practicing physicians are able to support their colleagues and communities through diverse activities and participation: technical assistance, research and education, community involvement, and advocacy. Among them, raising awareness and changing perceptions are indicated as crucial factors facilitating physicians' contribution to minimizing inequity.
Key Words: Clinical competence, Healthcare disparities, Health status disparities, Professional role, Socioeconomic factors
 


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