Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease : An Assessment of Obstetrician–Gynecologists’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice Patterns
Background African American and Hispanic women are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its many risk factors. Obstetrician–gynecologists (OB/GYNs) play an integral role in well-woman care and have a unique opportunity to provide CVD counseling and screening to these at-risk and underserved groups. Objective To assess whether OB/GYN race/ethnicity and OB/GYN practices with increasing minority patient populations predicted differences in OB/GYNs’ knowledge, attitudes, and practice patterns relevant to racial/ethnic disparities in CVD. This study also sought to determine provider and patient related barriers to CVD care. Method A questionnaire on CVD was mailed to 273 members of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in March–July 2013. Results African American and Hispanic OB/GYNs and OB/GYN practices with increasing minority patient populations were more knowledgeable of CVD disparities. These OB/GYNs reported greater concern for minority women’s CVD risk relative to White OB/GYNs. Overall, OB/GYNs appear less knowledgeable and concerned with Hispanics’ increased CVD risk relative to African Americans’. The most commonly reported provider and patient-related barriers to CVD care were time constraints, patient nonadherence to treatment recommendations, and inadequate training. Conclusion It is likely that minority OB/GYNs and those with practices with increasing minority patient populations have greater exposure to women at risk for CVD. Dissemination of educational information regarding Hispanic women’s CVD risk profile may improve OB/GYN knowledge, counseling, and screening. Increased training in CVD and multicultural competency during medical school and residency should help OB/GYNs overcome what they report as primary barriers to CVD care.