American Indian/Alaska Native; Disparities; Obstetrician-Gynecologist; Physician barriers


Mental and Social Health | Obstetrics and Gynecology


Background: Health disparities between American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) women and other races/ethnicities have long been noted. Obstetricians-Gynecologists (Ob-Gyn) play a significant role in well-woman care and are often the first and most frequent point of medical contact for women, particularly among minority and low-income women.

Objective: This study aimed to assess Ob-Gyns’ knowledge, beliefs, and practices related to health disparities among AI/AN women.

Method: A self-administered questionnaire, consisting of questions about knowledge, beliefs, and practices of health disparities among AI/AN women, was mailed to 722 members of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) practicing in the state of Washington in September 2013-February 2014.

Results: The majority of respondents were knowledgeable about numerous health care disparities among non-pregnant AI/AN women, while slightly fewer were aware of disparities among pregnant AI/AN patients. Ob-Gyns reported low confidence in their training and knowledge of AI/AN culture and health disparities, but high confidence in their ability to treat AI/AN patients. Participants reported dissatisfaction with their AI/AN patients’ breastfeeding rates.

Conclusion: Ob-Gyn knowledge of health disparities among AI/AN women is adequate. In spite of this, barriers to quality care are still present and increased identification and implementation of effective resources is needed.