health disparities

“The richest Americans live an average of 15 years longer than the poorest Americans,” said Martine Powers of the Washington Post as she kicked off a Washington Post Live forum on “The Future of Health” on June 4, 2019. The panel discussion focused on correlations between income and health featuring Dr. Georges Benjamin , president of the American Public Health Association and Research!America board member, and Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika of Drexel University . “We have to go upstream and look at how we got here,” to understand the implications of social factors and health disparities, Dr. Kumanyika explained. For example, regarding the homeless population, she suggested, “Why do we have policies...
Dear Research Advocate: After Tuesday’s election, we may or may not know the exact composition of the 116th Congress, as there are likely to be some very, very close races. But there is little doubt that the picture will be clearer than it is now when it comes to the policy dynamics next year -- and that is what our post-election briefing on Thursday, November 8 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. EST at AAAS (1200 New York Ave, NW in Washington, DC) is all about. Register now! If history is any guide, the magnitude of change in Congress will affect the prospects for completing unfinished business during the lame-duck session of Congress; not surprisingly, the more turnover, the harder it is to build...
Knights Landing (KL) is an unincorporated agricultural town located 25 miles north of the University of Calfornia, Davis (UC Davis). Like many unincorporated agricultural communities in the California Central Valley, KL faces a number of challenges including transportation, access to medical care, access to healthy foods and water, immigration, poverty, housing shortages and environmental pollution. About three years ago, KL residents reported concerns about a high cancer risk in their community to UC Davis Chicana/o Studies professor, Natalia Deeb-Sossa, PhD. As a result, Dr. Deeb-Sossa recruited PhD students to address community needs through their research in cancer prevention and...
At The Ohio State University College of Nursing, our faculty are spearheading important research that is making a difference in lives, improving population health and well-being, and decreasing health care costs. Our faculty have over $3 million of funded grants from the National Institutes of Health to conduct cutting-edge research to improve outcomes in vulnerable populations. Research that nurses conduct is focused on solving real-world problems in real time. A substantial number of our research studies, conducted by faculty in our Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth, focus on optimizing health and well-being of pregnant women and infants, such as a study funded by the...
Sickle cell disease affects approximately 100,000 Americans . It’s an inherited disorder where red blood cells contort into the shape of a sickle. These cells die early, leaving healthy red blood cells in short supply and intermittently blocking organ blood flow. If not diagnosed early and properly managed, the disease can lead to serious complications, including severe pain, infection and stroke, and significantly reduced life expectancy. The many complications of sickle cell disease can make every stage of life extremely difficult for individuals with the disease. Making matters worse, many people living with sickle cell disease are unable to access state of the art care. National...
In a keynote address at a forum in Washington, D.C. on April 2 to launch National Public Health Week, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams reinforced the need for more partnerships between public health experts and the communities that they serve. “You’ll never hear me say as a public health advocate that we don’t want or need more funding,” he said. “You will never hear me say that we don’t need more expertise, that we don’t need more studies, that we don’t need more science. But we can have a tremendous impact if we focus less on what we don’t have, and focus more on better engaging partners.” Dr. Adams said understanding how local communities think and feel is key to addressing the...
World Cancer Day, taking place on February 4, aims to "get as many people as possible around the globe to talk about cancer ." This year, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) hopes that, in addition to talking about cancer broadly, people around the world will also discuss the disproportionate impact that cancer has on disadvantaged and minority groups. We must continue to talk about the problem of cancer health disparities and address this pressing issue comprehensively and with passion and commitment. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer health disparities are “adverse differences in cancer incidence (new cases), cancer prevalence (all existing cases),...
Our nation’s health has improved in some areas but serious health challenges remain related to the escalating drug crisis and disparities in access to care. United Health Foundation’s 2017 America’s Health Rankings report indicates smoking prevalence, the rate of preventable hospitalizations and the percentage of uninsured Americans have declined, but the drug death rate has trended upward. In the past year, drug deaths reached the highest level recorded by America’s Health Rankings , increasing by 7%, particularly among whites. Even states that consistently rank among the healthiest in the nation saw increased mortality rates due to the drug epidemic. Over the past five years, drug death...
Rural America represents a large geographic area, a place where more than 60 million people currently reside. How large? As much as 75%of the nation’s geography is considered to be “rural and frontier.” The public health challenges of this vast area and population are significant, and often under appreciated. Rural Americans face a unique combination of factors that create significant disparities in health care including economic factors, cultural and social differences, educational limitations, and the sheer isolation of living in remote areas. These challenges are compounded by the fact that many policymakers do not understand or recognize that rural communities have unique challenges...
Health disparities occur when there is a significant difference in the burden of illness, injury, disability or mortality between demographic groups. A combination of educational, economic and environmental factors – known as social determinants – impact the health outcomes of individuals, often to the detriment of minority groups in the U.S. Contaminated housing, shortage of food stores with healthy choices, and lack of public recreational areas for exercise all contribute to higher rates of – and mortality from – heart disease, cancer and diabetes among non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, according to the Centers for Disease...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco