What are health disparities?
Health disparities can include differences in how diseases or conditions are diagnosed or treated amongst different groups of people. Factors can include:
- race or ethnicity
- education or income
- geographic location
- 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?
For the last 20 years, Healthy People’s overarching goals have focused on disparities. In Healthy People 2000, the goal was to reduce health disparities among Americans, and in 2010 that goal was elevated to "eliminate" disparities.
In Healthy People 2020, that goal was expanded to 1) achieve health equity, 2) eliminate disparities, and 3) improve the health of all groups. See Healthy People 2020's website for more background information, statistics, and even a widget that can be plugged into your existing webiste.
Researching a health disparity topic
The following databases are best for finding literature on health disparities:
- Ovid MEDLINESearches MEDLINE, which is the primary source of journal articles for the health sciences (fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, health care systems, and basic sciences). Ovid MEDLINE is optimized for advanced literature searches. Coverage is from the 1940s to the present.
- PubMedSearches MEDLINE, which is the primary source of journal articles for the health sciences (fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, health care systems, and basic sciences). Coverage is from the 1940s to the present. View this tutorial to learn how to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of journal articles and scholarly materials.
- Embase / Embase ClassicEmbase is a biomedical and pharmacological database covering journal articles, conference proceedings, and gray literature. It is strong in its coverage of pharmaceutical research and international and non-English content. Covers 1947 to present.
Try using the following terms in your search strategy:
- health disparit* (will search health disparity as well as health disparities)
- health status disparit*
- health care disparit*
- healthcare disparit*
- health inequit*
- health equit*
- health inequalit*
- health equalit*