Disparities in health care for Hispanic patients in physical medicine and rehabilitation in the United States: A narrative review

Laura E. Flores, Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, Diana Molinares, Julie K. Silver

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In the United States, the number of people with Hispanic backgrounds is rapidly increasing. This growth, along with other factors, may put them at increased risk for healthcare disparities. Thus, physical medicine and rehabilitation should evaluate disparities in health services through the lens of the evidence base. To our knowledge, this is the first review describing the literature on healthcare disparities for Hispanic patients in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation. This review explores healthcare utilization, risk factors, access, and health conditions specific to Hispanic populations. Articles used in this narrative review were collected for a 10-yr span (2009–2018) from online databases. Our findings highlight disparities across common conditions and injuries in the physical medicine and rehabilitation literature, including poststroke rehabilitation, hip fracture treatment and rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury. Our review suggests that Hispanic patients may be at risk for worse outcomes after these conditions, because of low access to rehabilitation services and disparities in the referral process. Similar results are reported for pain management and Parkinson disease. As we strive to provide optimal care to an increasingly diverse patient population, researchers and clinicians must consider effects of race and ethnicity on access to and utilization of rehabilitation services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-347
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Disparity
  • Hispanic
  • Race
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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