Measuring geographic “hot spots” of racial/ethnic disparities: An application to mental health care

Benjamin Lê Cook, Giyeon Kim, Kari Lock Morgan, Chih Nan Chen, Anna Nillni, Margarita Alegría

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This article identifies geographic “hot spots” of racial/ ethnic disparities in mental health care access. Using data from the 2001-2003 Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys(CPES), we identified metropolitan statistical areas(MSAs) with the largest mental health care access disparities (“hot spots”) as well as areas without disparities (“cold spots”). Racial/ ethnic disparities were identified after adjustment for clinical need. Richmond, Virginia and Columbus, Georgia were found to be hot spots for Black-White disparities, regardless of method used. Fresno, California and Dallas, Texas were ranked as having the highest Latino-White disparities and Riverside, California and Houston, Texas consistently ranked high in Asian-White mental health care disparities across different methods. We recommend that institutions and government agencies in these “hot spot” areas work together to address key mechanisms underlying these disparities. We discuss the potential and limitations of these methods as tools for understanding health care disparities in other contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-684
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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