Promoting Meaningful Access Through Education

Health Disparities Resource Guide

Health disparities refer to the differences in health quality and access associated with patient race, ethnicity, income, education, and place of residence. (Source: US Department of Health and Human Services). They are consistently found across a wide range of disease areas and clinical services, and they are found even when clinical factors such as stage of disease, comorbidity, age, and severity of disease are taken into account.



Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s website has a topic area devoted to issues surrounding health disparities. Site offerings include book chapters, charts and data, and research and analysis.


Many nursing schools established Centers for Health Disparity Research. Some of the more prominent ones include:

U Penn’s Center for Health Equity Research

Johns Hopkins University Center on Health Disparities Research

University of Texas MD Anderson Center for Research on Minority Health

Access Project – A research affiliate of Brandeis University, dedicated to improving the health of those most vulnerable through advocacy and technical assistance.


National Center on Minority and Health Disparities (NCMHD)

Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD)

The Office Of Minority Health (OMH)

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Dept. of Health – Fact sheet on addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities

Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP)

National Center for Health Statistics (CDC)



Hospitals, Language, and Culture: A Snapshot of the Nation, by the Joint Commission

The Eight Americas: Investigating Mortality Disparities across Races, Counties, and Race-Counties in the United States – A 2006 article from PLoS Medicine

CCHP’s summary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities includes some highlights on language access and cultural competence (quoted and excerpted from the HHS Action Plan) and a link to the entire plan on HHS’s website


Poverty & Race Research Action Council


Diversity and Health, Mary Ann Liebert, quarterly

Healthcare Disparities Report, CD Publications, monthly newsletter

International journal of global health and Health Disparities, U of N Iowa, semiannual

Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, John Hopkins U Press, quarterly

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, Springer, quarterly

Medical Care Research & Review, Sage, bi-monthly

Recommended Books

Closing the gap : Solutions to race-based health disparities / Pittz, Will, et al. / Applied Research Center; Northwest Federation of Community Organizations. — Oakland CA ; Seattle WA: Applied Research Center; Northwest Federation of Community Organizations, 2005

Examining the health disparities research plan of the National Institutes of Health : Unfinished business / Thomson, Gerald E., Ed.; Mitchell, Faith, Ed.; Williams, Monique, Ed. / Committee on the Review and Assessment of the NIH’s Strategic Research Plan And Budget to Reduce and Ultimately Eliminate Health Disparities, Board on Health Sciences Policy. — 2006.

Minority Populations and Health : An Introduction ot Health Disparities in the United States / LaVeist, Thomas A. — San Francisco CA: Jossey-Bass, 2005.

Reducing racial and ethnic health disparities : Estimating the impact of high health center penetration in low-income communities / Shin, Peter; Jones, Karen; Rosenbaum, Sara. — Washington DC: The George Washington University, 2003.

Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care / Smedley, Brian D, et al. / Institute of Medicine / Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2003. Available online.

Other Related Resources

Data Sources

International Rescue Committee provides information on some of the most pressing refugee crisis resulting from war and violence.

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

Listservs and Current Awareness

The Kaiser Family Foundation publishes a Weekly Health Disparities Report

The Center for Reducing Health Disparities maintains a blog

The American Hospital Association provides health disparity research updates


Medical Subject Headings (MeSH): Use one or more of these terms when searching the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database of biomedical literature: Prejudice, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Minority Groups, Patient Rights, Vital Statistics, Ethnic Groups, Delivery of Health Care, Cultural competency, Cultural diversity, Cultural competence, Cultural characteristics, Ethnic groups