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Focus area: trust

Focus area: A physician's professional responsibility, patient trust, and racial/ethnic health disparities.

Trust is a primary component of the relationships that patients, families, and communities have with their physicians and other health care providers. Research has shown that patients, families, and communities who can trust their physicians, and who are seen by their physicians as competent and trustworthy benefit by improved communication and an improved therapeutic bond for better healing. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, 2002 strongly supports the view that less effective communication and lower levels of trust often exist when patients are non-white or poor, and that these factors contribute to differential treatment and worse health outcomes for these populations. An increasing number of studies (Word, 34KB) on health disparities support the view that race, trust, and health outcomes are linked.