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Melva Thompson Robinson, DrPH, Director, UNLV Center for Health Disparities Research
José Melendrez, MSW, Executive Director Office of Community Partnerships, UNLV School of Public Health
What Are Health Disparities? What Is Health Equity?
Ahealth disparity is “a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion."
Health equity is the “attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.”
Like the history of US policing, the history of medicine and health care in the USA is marked by racial injustice and myriad forms of violence: unequal access to health care, the segregation of medical facilities, and the exclusion of African Americans from medical education are some of the most obvious examples.
Researchers surveyed 941 unionized Las Vegas hotel room cleaners about their experiences with work-related pain and with employers, physicians, and workers’ compensation. Hispanic and English as second language (ESL) workers were more likely than their counterparts to report work-related pain and, along with immigrant workers, to miss work because of this pain.
Racism goes much further than police brutality and the criminal justice system. When systemic racism and environmental health issues merge, it’s known as environmental racism—a form of racism whereby communities of color are more likely to be burdened with environmental hazards, such as toxic waste and industrial pollution. That in turn puts residents at greater risk of illnesses linked to unhealthy water, housing, and air.
How Does Systemic Racism Appear in Healthcare & Health Research?
Selections From the Stacks
Racism and Psychiatry by Morgan M Medlock et al.
Call Number: Ebook
Publication Date: 2019
This book addresses historical systems of oppression that have alienated African-American and other racial minority patients within the mental healthcare system.
Unlike any other resource, this guide moves beyond an exploration of the problem of racism and its detrimental effects, to a practical, solution-oriented discussion of how to understand and approach the mental health consequences with a lens and sensitivity for contemporary justice issues.
The Social Medicine Reader, Volume II, Third Edition by Jonathan Oberlander (Editor); Mara Buchbinder (Editor); Larry R. Churchill (Editor); Sue E. Estroff (Editor); Nancy M. P. King (Editor); Barry F. Saunders (Editor); Ronald P. Strauss (Editor); Rebecca L. Walker (Editor)
The extensively updated and revised third edition of the bestselling Social Medicine Reader provides a survey of the challenging issues facing today's health care providers, patients, and caregivers with writings by scholars in medicine, the social sciences, and the humanities.
Biopsychosocial Perspectives on Arab Americans by Slyvia C. Nassar-McMillan (Editor); Kristine J. Ajrouch (Editor); Julie Hakim-Larson (Editor)
Publication Date: 2013-09-24
This book offers an interdisciplinary lens by bringing together vital research on culture, psychosocial development, and key aspects of health and disease to address a wide range of salient concerns. Its scholarship mirrors the diversity of the Arab American population, exploring ethnic concepts in socio-historical and political contexts before reviewing findings on major health issues, including diabetes, cancer, substance abuse, mental illness, and maternal/child health.