Honors Study

Race/Ethnicity and the Chances of Children Having a Medical Home: An Examination of Individual and Contextual Factors and Population Diversity

Alexa Brown

Alexa L. Brown
HPA Schreyer Scholar

Objective

This thesis examines the association between a child’s race/ethnicity and having a medical home in the United States by analyzing how individual and contextual factors, as well as state demographics, are related to the chances that a child has a medical home. In this paper, the medical home is used as an indicator of access to regular medical care and services.

Data and Methods

Data in this paper are from the National Survey of Children’s Health, 2003, a nationally representative survey of the physical and emotional health of children between the ages of zero and 17. Logistic regression is used to model the relationship between independent and control variables and the dependent variable of interest, having a medical home.

Results

The results show that an association exists between race/ethnicity and having a medical home. Statistically, children who are black or African American, multiple races, Hispanic or Latino, or other races are significantly less likely to have a medical home than non-Hispanic white children. Age, gender, health status, parental education, health insurance, poverty level, and state diversity all influence the relationship between race/ethnicity and the dependent variable. One statistically significant interaction was found, namely that Hispanic or Latino children are more likely to have a medical home if they live in a state that is classified as more diverse.

Conclusions

The findings suggest that the race/ethnicity of a child is associated with the chances that the child has a medical home. This supports the idea that disparities exist in access to care that are based on race or ethnicity, and these findings have implications for the development of health policy in the United States.