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Dermatology Online Journal

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Ethnic distribution of populations in the highest and lowest dermatologist-dense areas: is there more to the story?


Several studies in the past decade have highlighted the lack of adequate dermatological care in skin of color (SOC) patients. This inquiry has led to further research to identify the sources of this disparity. Previous studies have highlighted the uneven geographic distribution of dermatologists, with a higher density of dermatologists in urban areas compared to other areas. However, the exact ethnic populations served by these dermatologists has remained largely uncharacterized. The purpose of this study was to compare the ethnic distributions in the ten highest and lowest dermatologist-dense areas across the United States to determine if there is equal access to dermatological care for minorities. Stratified by ethnicities, the highest dermatologist-dense areas consisted of 60% White alone (not Hispanic or Latino), 13% Hispanic or Latino, 13% Asian alone, and 12% Black or African American. Conversely, the least dermatologist-dense areas consisted of 45% White alone (not Hispanic or Latino), 28% Black or African American, 21% Hispanic or Latino, and 4% Asian alone. Our analysis highlights the presence of larger proportions of SOC patients in the lowest dermatologist-dense areas and this lack of access to dermatologists may contribute to inferior dermatological care and outcomes in Hispanic or Latino, and Black or African American minorities.

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