Differences in Health Care Access and Satisfaction Across Intersections of Race/Ethnicity and Sexual Identity

Rodman E. Turpin, Ellesse Roselee L. Akré, Natasha D. Williams, Bradley O. Boekeloo, Jessica N. Fish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose Racial/ethnic and sexual minorities experience numerous health disparities compared with their White and heterosexual counterparts, which may be exacerbated when these social identities intersect. The authors tested for differences in health care access and satisfaction across intersections of sexual identity and race/ethnicity. Method A cross-sectional secondary data analysis of the 2012-2018 waves of the Association of American Medical Colleges biannual online Consumer Survey of Health Care Access was conducted. This survey captures a national sample of U.S. adults who reported needing health care in the past 12 months. The analytic sample included 29,628 participants. Sixteen possible combinations of sexual identity and race/ethnicity were examined. Health care access and satisfaction were measured with 10 items and an index created from these items. Cumulative prevalence ratios (PRs) for the index and PRs across sexual identity, both individually and in combination with race/ethnicity, for each health care access and satisfaction item were generated. Results Compared with White heterosexuals, all other groups had significantly more barriers to care before adjustment. The greatest barriers were observed among non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander/Hawaiian gay/lesbian (unadjusted PR = 3.08; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.45, 3.88; adjusted PR = 2.01; 95% CI: 1.59, 2.53), non-Hispanic Black bisexual (unadjusted PR = 2.73; 95% CI: 2.28, 3.27; adjusted PR = 1.83; 95% CI: 1.52, 2.20), non-Hispanic Black other sexual identity (unadjusted PR = 2.27; 95% CI: 1.69, 3.06; adjusted PR = 2.07; 95% CI: 1.53, 2.78), and Hispanic/Latino other sexual identity (unadjusted PR = 2.06; 95% CI: 1.60, 2.65; adjusted PR = 1.39; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.79) participants. Conclusions Persons of both racial/ethnic and sexual minority status generally had less health care access and satisfaction than White heterosexuals. An intersectional perspective is critical to achieving equity in quality health care access.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1592-1597
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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