Health Disparities

What are health disparities?

Health disparities are defined by the National Institutes of Health as “differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse conditions that exist among specific population groups.” The U.S. Health Resources Services Administration defines health disparities as “population-specific differences in the presence of disease, health outcomes, or access to health care.” 

Health disparities can affect population groups based on gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geography, sexual orientation, disability or special health care needs and occur among groups who have persistently experienced historical trauma, social disadvantage or discrimination, and systematically experience worse health or greater health risks than more advantaged social groups.