Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | January 14, 2013

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Hypertension: Beginning the Conversation

ImageAccording to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, remains the number one killer of Americans and takes a disproportionate toll on many racial and ethnic groups that have higher rates of CVD and its risk factors.

African Americans are significantly more likely than whites to be diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure, a major risk factor for CVD.  They are also significantly less likely to achieve blood pressure goals despite equal or even more advanced levels of treatment.

Medication adherence, economic issues, communication between physicians and patients, and differences in antihypertensive effectiveness all contribute to these disparities. It is crucial that clinicians identify opportunities for improvement in the management of hypertension in their African-American patients and integrate those opportunities into their practices.

On Wednesday, January 16, Duke Raleigh and the American Heart Association invite clinicians, community leaders, caregivers, employers and all other interested individuals to a discussion about racial and ethnic disparities.  Kevin L. Thomas, MD, FACC, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Division of Cardiovascular Disease at Duke University Medical Center will lead the discussion.   

After the program, attendees will be able to describe disparities in epidemiology and management of hypertension in African Americans and list underlying reasons for these disparities.  They will also be able to identify barriers in medication adherence in African-American patients with hypertension and list opportunities in their practice to overcome these barriers.  With a focus on patient-centered communication, participants will also discuss how to integrate this type of communication into their interactions with minority patients.  Finally, participants should be able to apply current guidelines and algorithms for the medical management of hypertension in African Americans.

This program will be held from 6pm until 7pm in the Duke Raleigh Cardinal Dogwood room (located just off the cafe’) and is eligible for 1-hour of physician CME, nursing CE and pharmacist ACPE credit and is free to attendees.  To learn more or to register, please email or


Thank you to the American Heart Association for providing information and resources for this posting.

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