Approaches for Specific Populations

Objective of Section

To address major issues in improving diabetes care in specific populations.


A health disparity is a gap in the quality of health care that results in poorer health within certain groups in the population. Diabetes prevalence varies by age and ethnic groups. The prevalence of diabetes is higher in certain populations, and the outcomes are also worse. Achieving health equity has become a major focus of Healthy People 2020 and public sector health organizations. The challenges extend beyond the scope of health care as outcomes are often determined by the social determinates of health, including income level, education, ethnicity, geography, insurance coverage, and language. The cognitive understanding of the barriers to good health care and outcomes is essential to delivering high-quality care. Barriers to accessing care are often external to the front door of a health care professional’s office. External factors like cultural differences and conflicting priorities in the populations discussed in this section require unique and innovative solutions to improve care and outcomes.

As the U.S. health care system continues to emphasize paying for quality vs. quantity of care, it is important to remember that managing specific patient populations consumes more time and resources. Meanwhile, these populations also often have poorer health outcomes. The only way the health care system can achieve true health equality is if health care practices address the unique needs of specific populations. This section is designed to highlight diverse patient populations and provide useful resources on a variety of topics to manage them, including information on team-based approaches to care, behavioral health, and culturally-specific resources for minority populations. This section does not attempt to include or discuss all groups, but presents general principles and specific discussion related to select larger groups of specific populations.