Faculty Member

Previous research has demonstrated the impacts of racial/ethnic residential segregation on access to health care, but little work has been conducted to tease out the mechanisms at play. I posit that the distribution of health care facilities may contribute to poor access to health care. In a study of the Houston area, I examine the association between residential segregation, the distribution of physician’s offices, and two health care access outcomes of having a personal physician, as well as the travel time to their office location. Using the 2010 Health of Houston Survey combined with several census products, I test these relationships in a series of spatial and multilevel models. I find that Black segregation is related to a lower density of physician’s offices. However, I find that this distribution is not related to having a personal physician, but is related to travel times, with a greater number of facilities leading to shorter travel times to the doctor. I also find that Black segregation is positively associated with travel times, and that the distribution of physician’s offices partially mediates this relationship. In sum, these findings suggest that a more equitable provision of health care resources across urban neighborhoods would mitigate some of the negative effects of segregation.