Center Publication Cites Bias in Widely Used Health Survey

By | May 4, 2011

Health policymakers allocate resources to populations based on their needs, and these needs often are estimated from responses to large-scale surveys. In a recent study published in the journal Medical Care, Sudano and colleagues reported that a commonly used health survey (the ÒSF-36v2Ó) is biased for Spanish-speaking Hispanics, but not for white, black or English-speaking counterparts. ÒWe believe these results indicate that there are translation issues and cultural differences in the way Spanish speakers think about and report their healthÓ says Dr. Joseph Sudano, PhD, lead author and medical sociologist at the Center, ÒWe recommend reworking the survey to address both of these issues. In the meantime, we believe that policymakers should use caution when comparing SF-36v2 scores of Spanish-speaking Hispanics with those of other groups. Ò Joining Dr. Sudano in this study are fellow Center members Adam Perzynski, PhD; Thomas E. Love, PhD; Steven A. Lewis, MS; Patrick M. Murray, MD, MS; and colleagues from Northwestern University Gail M Huber, PT, PhD; Bernice Ruo, MD; and David W. Baker, MD, MPH. (posted 5/2011)Adam Perzynski, PhD, Patrick M. Murray, MD, MS,Medical Care

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About Joseph J. Sudano

I have been trained as a medical sociologist and health services researcher and am currently a faculty member in the Population Health Unit in the Center for Health Care Research and Policy, Case Western Reserve University at The MetroHealth System and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University. I am also the Director of Education in the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at Case Western Reserve University. My current research interests include: disparities in health care access, utilization and health outcomes concentrating on minorities and other vulnerable populations; social determinants of health including community/contextual characteristics (e.g., residential segregation, SES/poverty, job opportunities); measurement equivalence, validity and item-response theory in cross-cultural health status measurement; culturally-specific health beliefs and behaviors; general cognitive ability, personality, and education in relationship to health status and health behaviors; structural equation modeling/path analysis in health outcomes research; health related survey data collection and analysis; international health services research.

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