An Ecological Approach to Understanding Preventive Service Utilization Among the Underserved
Preventive services have the potential to reduce health disparities; however, these services are underutilized, particularly among the underserved. Patients with low socioeconomic status and racial and ethnic minorities experience significant health disparities related to cancer and infectious and chronic diseases but face multilevel challenges accessing preventive care. The purpose of this article is to enhance understanding of preventive service utilization among underserved patients by providing an ecological framework that addresses factors at multiple levels that influence patient care. In addition to factors that directly impact the patient, the framework incorporates influences on the patient's experience of the health system.