(Memphis) Two researchers from Nashville are now in Memphis trying to figure out why twice as many black woman as white woman are dying from breast cancer and why the infant mortality rate in the city is the highest in the nation.
Dr. Paul Juarez and his wife Dr. Patricia Mathhews-Juarez have set up a research center at UT Health Science Center and to look at Health Disparities.
Still, they say their study is not about race, it’s about place.
“It’s not to minimize the difference in terms of disparities across races, but it is to say race isn’t the cause of disparities and so we look at what are the causes we need to look at the places where disparities are occurring,” said Dr. Paul Juarez.
The husband and wife team are focusing on several zip codes in the city where the infant mortality rate is triple the national average.
“They range from 17 to 20 deaths per thousand,” said Dr. Paul Juarez.
They want to find on what is going on thee areas that include zip codes 38106, 38107, 38109, 38114, 38116, 38126, and 38127 to find out what is going on there and mobilize the community to do something about it.
“We have to look at health disparities not in isolation. We have to look at in the context of jobs, good housing, good schools so there are a lot of people at the table that really need to come and to talk to us about what they see,” said Dr. Patricia Matthews Juarez.
The say if they can find out what is causing some of the health disparities in those zip codes they can apply the information to other parts of the city.
The researchers will be talking to health care providers, schools, neighbor organizations and those in the faith community to help improve healthcare in Memphis.