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Health Equity and Health Disparities

A guide to health equity and health disparities research.

How to use this guide?

You can use the definitions, links, and more to find information and research on health equity and health disparities. 


Health Equity
Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to “attain his or her full health potential” and no one is “disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.” Health inequities are reflected in differences in length of life; quality of life; rates of disease, disability, and death; severity of disease; and access to treatment (
CDC, 2022). 

Health Disparity
A decline in a dynamic state or condition of physical and psychological wellbeing for one individual or group compared with another that is not a result of individual physiologic variance (Fink, 2009).

Healthcare Disparities
Difference in access to or availability of medical facilities and services (MeSH Controlled Vocabulary, 2008).

Health Status Disparities
Variation in the rates of disease occurance and disabilities between socioeconomic and/or geographically defined population groups (MeSH controlled Vocabulary, 2008).

Minority Health
The concept covering the physical and mental conditions of members of minority groups (MeSH Controlled Vocabulary, 2008) (See the reasons for this problematic concept in article below - Sotto-Santiago, 2019).

Why does it Matter?

Health Disparities in Context