Blog | Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Health and socioeconomic status

Last week, we saw more evidence that health outcomes are worse for people with low socioeconomic status. Not exactly surprising, especially since the researchers found that the association was much less true for people over 65, indicating that insurance is probably the issue.

But now, a new study in Academic Medicine finds that contact with poor patients at teaching hospitals causes medical students to have lower opinions of the poor in general. A finding that's not good for anyone involved, and makes you wonder if the link between health and socioeconomic status is more complicated than it at first appears. Is attitude affecting the care that these patients receive? If so, what can be done about it? The authors of the study have some interesting suggestions, including broadening the diversity of the medical student population: if you can't change the students' minds, change the students?