Racial and ethnic disparities in the primary care experiences of children: a review of the literature

Med Care Res Rev. 2003 Mar;60(1):3-30. doi: 10.1177/1077558702250229.


Substantial racial and ethnic disparities persist in children's health and use of health services in the United States. Although equitable access to primary care services is widely promoted as one of the most feasible remedies to reduce health disparities, there has only recently been an effort to assess its quality, particularly for children. Racial and socioeconomic differences in access to care have been previously well documented, but recent research has begun to elucidate differences in more qualitative experiences in the receipt of primary care. This article presents a synthesis and critique of the existing research according to the core attributes of primary care: first-contact care, longitudinality, comprehensiveness, and coordination. Finally, the article proposes an agenda for further research into the pathways by which racial and ethnic disparities in primary care exist.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Health Services / standards*
  • Ethnicity*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Social Class
  • United States