The role of community health centers in reducing racial disparities in spatial access to primary care

Jane W. Seymour, Daniel E. Polsky, Elizabeth J. Brown, Corentin M. Barbu, David Grande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Racial minorities are more likely to live in primary care shortage areas. We sought to understand community health centers’ (CHCs) role in reducing disparities. Methods: We surveyed all primary care practices in an urban area, identified low access areas, and examined how CHCs influence spatial accessibility. Results: Census tracts with higher rates of public insurance (≥40% vs <10%, odds ratio [OR] = 31.06, P <.001; 30-39% vs 10%, OR = 7.84, P = 0.001) were more likely to be near a CHC and those with moderate rates of uninsurance (10%-19% vs <10%, OR = 0.42, P =.045) were less likely. Racial composition was not associated with proximity. Tracts close to a CHC were less likely (OR = 0.11, P <.0001) to be in a low access area. This association did not differ based on racial composition. Discussion: Although CHCs were more likely to be in areas with a greater fraction of racial minorities, location was more strongly influenced by public insurance rates. CHCs reduced the likelihood of being in low access areas but the effect did not vary by tract racial composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • Access to care
  • Community health centers
  • Primary care
  • Racial disparities
  • Spatial access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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