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Brown ArrowHealth Disparities

Healthcare disparities refer to differences in access to or availability of facilities and services. Health status disparities refer to the variation in rates of disease occurrence and disabilities between socioeconomic and/or geographically defined population groups. [Both definitions are from the 2009 Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).]

The MEDLINE/PubMed retrieves citations to journal literature.

Health Disparities News

  • Differences in Case-Mix between Rural and Urban Recipients of Home Health Care images/pdf.gif icon - (Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) USA)  - A new report looks at differences in health status and needs of the population receiving home health services, within urban and rural settings. Home health care is both an important part of the care continuum for Medicare beneficiaries and a major program cost.

Data, Tools, and Statistics

  • AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange - (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ))  - Comprehensive program designed to accelerate the development and adoption of innovations in health care delivery.
  • CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report - United States, 2011 - (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC))  - Health disparities are differences in health outcomes between groups that reflect social inequalities. Despite progress over the past 20 years in reducing this problem, racial/ethnic, economic and other social disparities in health still exists and need to be addressed. This report is the first in a periodic series examining health disparities in the United States.
  • Culture, Language and Health Literacy - (Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA))  - This collection of resources, including toolkits, videos, and workbooks, is aimed at healthcare providers, to enable them to better address the cultural, language and health literacy needs of their consumers.
  • Directory of Health Organizations images/pdf.gif icon - (National Library of Medicine (NLM) U.S.)  - This link provides access to a database containing location and descriptive information about a wide variety of information resources including organizations, research resources, projects, and databases concerned with health and biomedicine. Each record may contain information on the publications, holdings, and services provided.
  • Diversitydata.org - (Center for Advancing Health USA, Harvard School of Public Health)  - Diversitydata.org allows visitors to explore how metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. perform on a diverse range of social measures that comprise a well-rounded life experience. The site provides access to socioeconomic indicators for metropolitan areas in the form of tables, thematic maps, and customizable reports.
  • Health Care Disparity-related Links - (Adventist Health Care US)  - This site provides access to a listing of health care disparity-related resources, organizations, and links.
  • Health Data Interactive - (National Center for Health Statistics, CDC (NCHS))  - Tables with national health statistics for infants, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. Tables can be customized by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and geographic location to explore different trends and patterns.
  • Health Disparities Calculator - (National Cancer Institute, NIH (NCI))  - Statistical software designed to generate multiple summary measures to evaluate and monitor health disparities (HD). HD*Calc was created as an extension of SEER*Stat that allows the user to import SEER Data or other population based health data such as National Health Interview Survey, California Health Interview Survey, Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey, and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
  • Health Disparities Cost Impact Tool - (National Business Group on Health (NBGH) US, Urban Institute (UI))  - This interactive tool was designed to help you estimate the economic impact of health disparities in a company's diverse workforce, in terms of direct medical costs and lost workdays for a variety of health conditions. It utilizes annual employer-sponsored insurance data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
  • Health Disparities Resources for Researchers - (National Cancer Institute, NIH (NCI))  - Lists links to resources for researchers of health disparities. Incldues instruments and questionnaires, surveys, various studies, and links to health disparities reports.
  • Healthy People 2010 Final Review - (National Center for Health Statistics, CDC (NCHS))  - The Healthy People 2010 Final Review presents a quantitative end-of-decade assessment of progress in achieving the Healthy People 2010 objectives and goals over the course of the decade.
  • HRET Disparities Toolkit - (Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET))  - The Toolkit is a Web-based tool that provides hospitals, health systems, clinics, and health plans information and resources for systematically collecting race, ethnicity, and primary language data from patients.
  • HSRR (Health Services and Sciences Research Resources) - (National Library of Medicine, National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology)  - HSRR is a searchable database of information about research datasets, instruments/indices and software employed in Health Services Research, the Behavioral and Social Sciences and Public Health. The database includes brief descriptions of research resources and links to PubMed.
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Map - (Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI))  - This map is a free, open resource for those interested in sharing IHI's mission of improving health care. This includes access to various "How To Guides," for example, prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia; prevent surgical site infection; prevent adverse drug events, etc.
  • National Healthcare Disparities Report (2014) images/pdf.gif icon - (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ))  - This document is the 2013 edition of AHRQ's annual report on the progress and opportunities for improving health care quality and reducing health care disparities
  • National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Reports - (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ))  - Online query system that allows you to access national and state data on the quality of, and access to, health care from scientifically credible measures and data sources.
  • NHQRDRNet Online Query System - (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ))  - Online query system that allows you to access national and state data on the quality of, and access to, health care from scientifically credible measures and data sources. This is an interactive tool to explore data from the National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Reports.
  • Roots of Health Inequity Web Course - (National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO))  - This is a web-based course aimed at the public health workforce.
  • Safety Net Monitoring - (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ))  - Baseline data and tools to help monitor the status of local safety nets in providing health care to low-income and other vulnerable populations.
  • Surveillance Research: Health Disparities - (National Cancer Institute, NIH (NCI))  - Provides links to the following types of information: statistics by race/ethnicity, network for cancer control research among AI/AN populations, socioeconomic status and cancer, Native American initiatives, cancer in women of color monograph, status of cancer surveillance in minority and underserved populations, and SEER expansion.

Grants, Funding and Fellowships

  • Addressing Health Disparities in NIDDK Diseases (R01) - (National Institutes of Health (NIH))  - This grant seeks research to improve understanding of the causes of high priority diseases, and to develop and test more effective interventions for reducing/eliminating health disparities.
  • The Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program - (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF))  - Brings talented college seniors and recent graduates to Washington, D.C., where they are placed in congressional offices and learn about health policy issues, with a focus on issues affecting racial and ethnic minority and underserved communities.
  • Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) - (Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA))  - Comprising six bureaus and 12 offices, HRSA provides leadership and financial support to health care providers in every state and U.S. territory. HRSA grantees provide health care to uninsured people, people living with HIV/AIDS, and pregnant women, mothers and children. They train health professionals and improve systems of care in rural communities.
  • Hispanic Health Services Research Grant Program - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS))  - The purpose of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Hispanic Grant Program is to implement Hispanic American health services research activities to meet the needs of diverse CMS beneficiary populations.
  • Training for Minority Researchers and Students - (National Cancer Institute, NIH (NCI))  - Describes National Cancer Institute training and career development opportunities available to minority individuals interested in pursuing cancer research careers in basic, clinical, prevention and population control sciences.
  • Twinning Program Cooperative Agreement - (Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA))  - The Twinning Program would support the formation of HIV-AIDS-related partnerships for capacity building to support the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
  • Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy (R01) - (National Institutes of Health (NIH))  - The goal of this program announcement is to encourage methodological, intervention and dissemination research for understanding and promoting health literacy.
  • Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy (R21) - (National Institutes of Health (NIH))  - The goal of this program announcement is to encourage methodological, intervention and dissemination research for understanding and promoting health literacy.

Guidelines, Journals, Other Publications

  • 2012 Healthcare Disparities Report - (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ))  - AHRQ produces the National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR) and the National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR). These reports measure trends in effectiveness of care, patient safety, timeliness of care, patient centeredness, and efficiency of care. The reports present, in chart form, the latest available findings on quality of and access to health care. The National Healthcare Quality Report tracks the health care system through quality measures, such as the percentage of heart attack patients who received recommended care when they reached the hospital or the percentage of children who received recommended vaccinations. The National Healthcare Disparities Report summarizes health care quality and access among various racial, ethnic, and income groups and other priority populations, such as residents of rural areas and people with disabilities.
  • Community Health Indicators for the Washington Metropolitan Region - (Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) USA)  - Report highlights some health problems in the Washington area and indicates that health can differ quite dramatically depending upon where one lives in the region. Race and ethnicity, education and income, family history and early life experience, even the neighborhoods and homes in which people live are important factors in determining health. These factors are collectively referred to as the social determinants of health.
  • Disparities Policy - (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF))  - A compilation of Kaiser Family Foundation reports and Web links on various aspects of minority health.
  • Equity of Care Blog - (Equity of Care US)  - Updated biweekly, this blog provides commentary by leaders in the field who are taking up the challenge of improving the quality of care for all patient populations and eliminating health care disparities.
  • Health Behavior News Service - (Center for Advancing Health USA)  - Disseminates news stories on the latest findings from peer-reviewed research journals. HBNS covers both new studies and systematic reviews of studies on (1) the effects of behavior on health, (2) health disparities data and (3) patient engagement research.
  • Health Disparities Defined - (National Cancer Institute, NIH (NCI))  - Provides access to several definitions and a link to NCI health disparities research.
  • Health Equity and Prevention Primer - (Prevention Institute)  - The Health Equity and Prevention Primer (HEPP) serves as a web-based training series for public health practitioners and advocates interested in policy advocacy, community change, and multi-sector engagement to achieve health equity.
  • HHS' Action Plan to Reduce Health Disparities (Webcast Transcript) - (Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) U.S.)  - The April 25, 2011 program addressed the contents of the strategy and its timeline for implementation as well as its implications for providers. The panelists also discussed how the new strategy relates to other recently released HHS strategies including the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care, the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy, the Healthy People 2020 initiative and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. Panelists also consider what the strategy's role as it relates to health reform implementation.
  • Kaiser's Monthly Update on Health Disparities - (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF))  - This free, monthly update synthesizes news coverage from hundreds of print and broadcast news sources related to health and health care issues affecting underserved and racial and ethnic communities. The update also summarizes recent journal articles and other research developments in the field and features a data slide from a relevant Kaiser Family Foundation publication.
  • Quality/Equality Glossary - (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF))  - A glossary of key terms in the fields of health care quality, disparities reduction and quality improvement.
  • The State of Health Equity Research: Closing Knowledge Gaps to Address Inequities (2014) images/pdf.gif icon - (AcademyHealth, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC))  - This report presents the results of a qualitative analysis of all U.S.-based, health disparities-focused health services research to analyze trends (2007-2011) in funding and grantee institutions, the populations and outcomes studied, and shifts in these investigations' focus on detecting, understanding, or eliminating inequities in health and health care.
  • Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care - (National Academies)  - Congress, in 1999, requested an IOM study to assess the extent of disparities in the types and quality of health services received by U.S. racial and ethnic minorities and non-minorities; explore factors that may contribute to inequities in care; and recommend policies and practices to eliminate these inequities. This is the resulting report from the IOM study.

Key Organizations/Programs

  • AHRQ - Minority Health - (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ))  - Links to AHRQ's minority health programs, reports, workshops, etc.
  • Center for Health Equity and Wellness - (Adventist Health Care US)  - Center for Health Equity and Wellness was created to raise community awareness about local health disparities, improve capacity to deliver population-based care, and develop solutions to eliminate local disparities in health care.
  • Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion - (Health Services Research and Development Service, Veterans Administration (HSR&D))  - An HSR&D Center of Excellence whose mission is to reduce disparities and promote equity in health and health care among vulnerable groups of veterans and other populations.
  • Commonwealth Fund Health Care Disparities - The goals of the program are to improve the overall quality of health care delivered to low-income and minority Americans, and to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. The program builds on efforts to improve quality of care overall in the United States, focusing on safety-net hospitals and ambulatory care providers serving large numbers of low-income and minority patients.
  • Disparities in Mental Health Services Research - (National Institute of Mental Health, NIH (NIMH))  - This program plans, stimulates, disseminates, and supports research on the complex factors that influence disparities in mental health services, particularly across special population groups such as racial and ethnic groups, as well as women and children, and persons living in rural and frontier areas.
  • Hispanic Elders Learning Network - (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ))  - Links to a slide presentation on Reducing Health Disparities Among Hispanic Elders: Lessons from a Learning Network.
  • Institute of Medicine (IOM) - Minority Health - (National Academies)  - Links to current projects, events, and reports concerning minority health as well as information about the work IOM has done in the area of racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare.
  • National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities - (Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) U.S., National Partnership to End Health Disparities (NPA) US)  - The mission of the National Partnership for Action is to mobilize and connect individuals and organizations across the country to create a Nation free of health disparities, with quality health outcomes for all people.
  • National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA) - (Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) U.S.)  - The mission of the National Partnership for Action is to mobilize and connect individuals and organizations across the country to create a Nation free of health disparities, with quality health outcomes for all people. The campaign, launched by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) focuses on health status and health outcomes among racial and ethnic minority populations.
  • Network on Inequality, Complexity, and Health - (National Institutes of Health (NIH))  - Created by NIH in August 2010, the Network consists of experts who will explore new approaches to understanding the origins of health disparities, or differences in the burden of disease among population groups. Using state-of-the-science conceptual and computational models, the network's goal is to identify important areas where interventions or policy changes could have the greatest impact in eliminating health disparities.
  • New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) - (New York Academy of Medicine)  - NYAM has been advancing the health of people in cities since 1847. An independent organization, NYAM addresses the health challenges facing the world's urban populations through interdisciplinary approaches to innovative research, education, community engagement and policy leadership. Drawing on the expertise of diverse partners worldwide and more than 2,000 elected Fellows from across the professions, our current priorities are to create environments in cities that support healthy aging; to strengthen systems that prevent disease and promote the public's health; and to implement interventions that eliminate health disparities. Provides New York City and New York State health and community data resources.
  • Office of Minority Health (OMH) - (Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) U.S.)  - The mission of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) is to improve and protect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will eliminate health disparities. Detailed information on cultural competency can be found on this site.
  • Social Determinants of Health Series - (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)  - The series has announced several dates for 2013, including the Second Annual Symposium on the Social Determinants of Health (April 23, 2013) in Baltimore, MD.

Meetings / Conferences / Webinars

  • Health Affairs Podcasts - (Health Affairs)  - This series of recordings, both recent and archived, reflect on issues covered in the journal
  • Health Literacy Out Loud - (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ))  - Podcast Interviews with those in the know about health literacy.