What are health disparities?
Health disparitites can include differences in how diseases or conditions are diagnosed or treated amongst different groups of people. Factors include:
- gender, race or ethnicity
- education or income
- geographic location (urban vs. rural)
- sexual orientation
Health disparities can also include differences in how people access health care services or in the quality of the treatment that is received.
Why is research in eliminating health disparities important?
- Eliminating health disparities is a major focus of the Department of Health & Human Services Healthy People 2020 objectives
What role does health care reform play in reducing or eliminating health disparities?
- The recent health care reform legislation enables more access to care, emphasizes preventive or primary care, focuses on enhanced use of information technology to improve care (e.g. electronic health records), includes a structure for utilizing evidence-based decision-making in health care, and may eventually create a more equitable health care system. PMID: 21242565
Researching a health disparity topic
- Researching a health dispartiy topic can be challenging in an online index such as PubMed due to the mix of keywords and subject headings that may be used to describe a topic
Health disparity research tutorial
This short (5-10 minute) online tutorial can help you effectively research a health disparity topic in the health sciences literature index, PubMed.
Additional health disparity information sources:
- CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report, United States, 2011
- Health Disparities/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities
- MEDLINE/PubMed Search strategy (for retrieval of journal articles on health dispartity topics)
- 2010 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports (Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality)