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
  • disability
  • 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:





Subject Specialist

Shanda Hunt

Shanda Hunt

305 Diehl Hall
(612) 301-1318