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Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Data on Selected Health Disparities in New Jersey


  • Prostate cancer rates among African-American men in Newark are among the highest in the nation. In 2003, the age-adjusted prostate cancer incidence rate per 100,000 standard population was 175.2 for men of all races, 158.3 for white men and 267.8 for black men. This represents a substantial drop in the prostate cancer incidence rate as compared to 2002 when it was 215.1, 202.9 and 280.8 per 100,000 population, respectively.1 Prostate cancer incidence rates are approximately 50% higher in black men than in white men.1 In 2002, the age-adjusted prostate cancer mortality rate among blacks was nearly 2½ times the white rate: 24.9 per 100,000 population for whites and 62.0 for blacks.1
  • Incidence rates for invasive cervical cancer are higher for blacks than they are for whites (17.5 versus 9.0 per 100,000 women in 2000). While the age-adjusted incidence rate declined from 13.0 in 1991 to 9.8 in 2000, the decline was far greater among blacks than among whites. 2
  • In New Jersey, Hispanic males and females have higher incidence rates for stomach, liver, gallbladder, and certain skin cancers (primarily Kaposi's sarcoma) than non-Hispanic whites. For Hispanic males, rates are higher for cancer of the nasopharynx and penis than non-Hispanic whites. Hispanic females have higher incidence rates for cancer of the nasopharynx, cervix, multiple myeloma, lymphocytic leukemias, and myeloid leukemias than non-Hispanic white females. Blacks also have higher incidence rates than Hispanics for most of the above cancers.3
  • African-American women are 28 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than White women, although the incidence is higher among White women than Black.3. In 2003, the age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate was 28.6 for white women and 33.9 for black women per 100,000.4
  • In New Jersey, only 57 percent of Black women with breast cancer are diagnosed at the early stages in comparison to 65 percent of the new cases in White women.5

Lead Poisoning and Asthma:

  • According to National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), Hispanics (Puerto Ricans and Mexicans) have the highest nationwide prevalence of asthma, with a rate that is 80% higher when compared to non-Hispanic whites. Black non-Hispanics are more than 4 times more likely than white non-Hispanics residents to be hospitalized for asthma while Hispanic residents are more than 3 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to be hospitalized for asthma. 6
  • New Jersey’s urban municipalities had the greatest concentration of minority residents in the state and at the same time had the largest percentage of reported cases of lead poisoning in fiscal year 2005. For example, 8.2 percent of children tested in Newark had elevated blood lead levels (> 10 mg/dl is elevated as determined by U.S. Centers for Disease Control). 7
  • Data show that between 1990 and 1999, African-Americans in New Jersey were four times more likely than Whites to die from asthma.8

Diabetes and Obesity:

  • Diabetes disproportionately affects ethnic and racial minorities. In 2004, non-Hispanic blacks had the highest age-adjusted prevalence rate of diabetes at 11.5%, followed by Hispanics at 7.2%, and non-Hispanic whites at 5.3%.9
  • In 2003, the age-adjusted mortality rate of diabetes was 26.7 per 100,000 and diabetes was the fifth overall leading cause of death. Also, the age-adjusted mortality rate of diabetes for African-Americans was more than twice that of Whites, 55 as apposed to 24 per 100,000. 9
  • Consistent with nationwide trends, obesity has been rising steadily in New Jersey since the early nineties. However, New Jersey’s obesity rates are slightly lower than national rates. According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), in 2005, 37 percent of New Jerseyans were overweight and 22 percent were obese.10
  • The prevalence of obesity is significantly higher among blacks when compared to all other groups. In 2005, thirty-two percent of blacks were obese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 22 percent of whites and Hispanics who were obese.10

Obesity Prevalence by race/ethnicity New Jersey, 2005 Source: BRFSS

Healthcare Quality and Access

  • Data from a 2004 study by the Institute of Medicine showed that New Jersey has an uninsured population of 15.8 percent. In all likelihood, this number is greater given the significant undocumented population. 11
  • Recent data show that 31 percent of Latinos and 22 percent of African-Americans in New Jersey lack health insurance as compared to 15 percent of their non-Latino White counterparts. 11
  • Only 74 percent of Latinos reported having a regular source of healthcare as compared to 83 percent of the total population as found in a 1999 study performed by the New Jersey Office of Minority Health. 12


  1. Monthly health data fact sheet, September 2006. Center for Health Statistics, New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.state.nj.us/health/chs/monthlyfactsheets/prostate.pdf
  2. Monthly health data fact sheet, January 2004. Center for Health Statistics, New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.state.nj.us/health/chs/monthlyfactsheets/jan04cervical.pdf
  3. Cancer among Hispanics in New Jersey: Hispanic Cancer Incidence and Mortality Rates, New Jersey, 1990-1996. http://www.state.nj.us/health/cancer/hispanic/hispanic1906.htm
  4. Monthly health data fact sheet, October 2006. Center for Health Statistics, New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.state.nj.us/health/chs/monthlyfactsheets/breastca.pdf
  5. New Jersey Cancer Facts and Figures 2002: American Cancer Society and New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Available at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/cancer/nj2002facts.pdf
  6. Asthma in New Jersey, Annual Update 2006. New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Division of Family Health Services. Available at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/asthma/documents/asthma_update2006.pdf
  7. Childhood Lead Poisoning in NJ Annual Report: Fiscal Year 2005.New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services.
  8. Asthma in New Jersey, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Available at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/asthma.pdf
  9. Diabetes Fact Sheet: Center for Health Statistics; New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Dec. 2005. Available at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/chs/monthlyfactsheets/dec05diabetes.pdf
  10. Monthly health data fact sheet, July 2006. Center for Health Statistics, New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.state.nj.us/health/chs/monthlyfactsheets/jul06_obesity.pdf
  11. Insuring America’s Health: Principles and Recommendations. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science. Board on Healthcare Services. Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance 2004.
  12. New Jersey Office of Minority Health Advisory Commission Summit Recommendations Report. May 2000.


Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities
School of Public Health University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
65 Bergen Street - Room742
Newark, NJ 07107
973.972.4382 phone
website: http://www2.umdnj.edu/iehdweb

Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Accomplishment Highlights 2006

The Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities (IEHD) at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is a broad-based partnership working toward improving the health of diverse populations through outreach, collaboration, education, and research. Established in 2001 by the UMDNJ Board of Trustees, the Institute became operational in 2002; it is university-wide and statewide. Under the leadership of IEHD's first Executive Director, Diane R. Brown, PhD, the Institute is focusing on social, economic, environmental and healthcare factors that are key contributors to poorer health outcomes among certain racial and ethnic groups. With receipt of federal funding totaling $630,000, garnered through the leadership of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation, the Institute has made significant strides towards accomplishing its objectives. Among the accomplishments of the Institute in its short tenure are:


  • In collaboration with the University Hospital Cancer center and Institute for Research Minority Training on Mental Health and Aging (IRMMA), the Institute did a poster presentation at the 2006 Annual Cancer Retreat entitled  The Interface between Race and Age Disparities among Advanced Stage Breast Cancer Patients
  • The Institute initiated a collaborative pilot project program with CINJ.  The first two projects funded involved breast cancer and end of life care for racial minorities.
  • Because African-American men are often reluctant to seek health care services and counsel regarding prostate cancer, the Institute in conjunction with University hospital Urology department held a two day (September 28& 30) free prostate cancer screening in Newark. Sixty men were screened. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey screened 483 men for Prostate Cancer in three days in October, 2006.
  • The institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities conducted Focus groups for breast,   prostate, colorectal and lung cancer for Community Resource Proposal and data analysis has begun.
  • With additional funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Institute is implementing a culturally relevant community-based support program for breast cancer survivors in Essex County.

Lead Poisoning and Asthma:

  • Because of the high rate of lead poisoning in Newark, the Institute is providing funding for a pilot project entitled “Vitamin D, Weather, Race, and Pediatric Lead Poisoning” which will study why blood lead concentrations of children in Newark are higher during the warmer months of the year than during the colder months. The investigator, Dr. John Bogden, a faculty member at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School hypothesizes that race and sun-related vitamin D synthesis interacts to influence blood lead levels, and that a considerable percentage of Newark children will have vitamin D deficiency.
  • To reduce the health impact of environmental risks for Camden residents, the Institute is collaborating with the Camden City Healthy Futures Environmental Health Task Force, UMDNJ’s Office of Urban and Community Development and UMDNJ scientists to develop a Blueprint for Action.
  • To conduct education and outreach on asthma, lead poisoning, cancer and respiratory illnesses, the Institute is establishing an Environmental Health Resource Center in Camden that will work with local community organizations to develop and implement an environmental health risk reduction intervention.


  • IEHD hosted Obesity Conference-Planning Luncheon on November 8, 2006. It was an open discussion facilitated by Lorraine Bell of UMDNJ with health care leaders, UMDNJ staff, policy makers and health experts to review conference topics, issues, suggested health speakers and presenters for the obesity conference.
  • IEHD in collaboration with the Congressional Black Caucus will be hosting an obesity conference on March 30-31 2007. This free conference will provide a platform for scientists, policy makers and members of the community to focus on obesity, diabetes, and related conditions in New Jersey’s minority populations. For more information, please call 973-972-4382.
  • Given that chronic diseases including diabetes and hypertension are prevalent among residents of Newark and East Orange, the Institute is collaborating with the Newark Community Health Centers and UMDNJ-School of Nursing in designing an intervention strategy to improve the health outcomes of residents with diabetes and hypertension.
  • In partnership with the Newark Municipal Council Health Committee, the Institute is promoting health and fitness activities for Newark residents.

Health Care Quality and Access:

  • Too often, the uninsured and the medically under served are unaware of available healthcare services or are reluctant to use them for a variety of reasons. In collaboration with Dr. Edwin W. Verner, Medical Director of Interfaith Health Services, Inc.,
    UMDNJ-university Hospital, other healthcare providers and local college and university students, the Institute is coordinating the development of a healthcare safety-net intervention that encompasses the use of patient navigators.


Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities
School of Public Health
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
65 Bergen Street - Room742
Newark, NJ 07107
973 972 4382 phone
website: http://www2.umdnj.edu/iehdweb