Ethnic differences in preventive medicine: The example of Jewish Ethiopian women in Israel

Howard Tandeter, Iana Masandilov, Irena Kemerly, Aya Biderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Studies have found ethno-cultural disparities in health care delivery in different countries. Minority populations may receive lower standards of care. Objectives: To test a hypothesis that Jewish Ethiopian women may be receiving fewer preventive recommendations than other women in Israel. Methods: A telephone survey was conducted using a structured questionnaire designed specifically for the study in Hebrew, Russian and Amharic (Semitic language of Ethiopia). The study group included 51 post-menopausal women of Ethiopians origin, aged 50-75. The control group included 226 non-Ethiopian matched for age, some of whom were immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The questionnaire dealt with osteoporosis and breast cancer screening and prevention. Results: All the parameters measured showed that the general population received more preventive recommendations and treatment that did Jewish Ethiopian women, including manual breast examination, mammography, osteoporosis prevention, bone density scans, and recommendations for a calcium-rich diet, calcium supplementation, hormone replacement therapy, biphosphonates and raloxifen. On a logistic regression model the level of knowledge of the Hebrew language, age, ethnicity and not visiting the gynecoogist were significantly related to not having received any preventive medicine recommendations. Conclusions: Differences in cultural backgrounds and language between physicians and their patients may obstruct the performance of screening and preventive medicine. Recognizing this potential for inequity and using methods to overcome these barriers may prevent it in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-456
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2007


  • Ethiopians
  • Mammography
  • Minority
  • Preventive medicine
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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