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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(7), 7492-7507; doi:10.3390/ijerph110707492

Health and Health Care Disparities: The Effect of Social and Environmental Factors on Individual and Population Health

College of Medicine Center for Diversity Affairs, Department of Neonatology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham St., Mail Slot 625, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA
Received: 3 January 2014 / Revised: 20 May 2014 / Accepted: 23 May 2014 / Published: 21 July 2014
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [227 KB, uploaded 21 July 2014]

Abstract

Recently the existence and prevalence of health and health care disparities has increased with accompanying research showing that minorities (African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders) are disproportionately affected resulting in poorer health outcomes compared to non-minority populations (whites). This is due to multiple factors including and most importantly the social determinants of health which includes lower levels of education, overall lower socioeconomic status, inadequate and unsafe housing, and living in close proximity to environmental hazards; all contributing to poor health. Given the ever widening gap in health and health care disparities, the growing number of individuals living at or below the poverty level, the low number of college graduates and the growing shortage of health care professionals (especially minority) the goals of this paper are to: (1) Define diversity and inclusion as interdependent entities. (2) Review the health care system as it relates to barriers/problems within the system resulting in the unequal distribution of quality health care. (3) Examine institutional and global benefits of increasing diversity in research. (4) Provide recommendations on institutional culture change and developing a diverse culturally competent healthcare workforce. View Full-Text
Keywords: social determinants of health; health disparities; diversity and inclusion; health care workforce; cultural competency; population health; health literacy; academic pipeline; educational attainment; built environment social determinants of health; health disparities; diversity and inclusion; health care workforce; cultural competency; population health; health literacy; academic pipeline; educational attainment; built environment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Thomas, B. Health and Health Care Disparities: The Effect of Social and Environmental Factors on Individual and Population Health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 7492-7507.

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