Minority Health and Health Disparities

Achieving good health is a priority goal for individuals and populations in which race, gender, and socioeconomic status all play a part. Communities of lower socioeconomic status may experience more difficulty accessing health care, nutritious food options, and health education. Students who study minority health and health disparities are largely concerned with widening access to health care for underserved populations, as well as studying how resources can be distributed to more susceptible populations that are disproportionately affected by certain diseases. Students in this field become experts in the reasons for socioeconomic imbalance in the American health care system.

Sample Courses

The American Indian (AI) population suffers disproportionately from diabetes, obesity, and infant mortality. Social determinants of health and increased risk factors contribute to health disparities within the AI population. Health policies and cultural competence are integral to solving some of the most important health concerns. This course focuses on the underlying factors of successful health systems through the lens of American Indian health disparities.

Health does not operate in a vacuum. It is intertwined with social, economic, and educational factors. Health disparities are the differences in overall rate of disease incidence, morbidity, and mortality, which leads to increased economic burden. This course will teach the future public health practitioners how play a critical role in the identification and elimination of health disparities.

Although teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S. are higher than in many other developed countries, the number has decreased steadily since 1991. One reason for the lower numbers is well-developed pregnancy education and prevention programs geared toward teenagers. In this course, students gain the tools to understand the variations surrounding teenage behavior across different cultures. This knowledge equips the student to better understand how unwanted pregnancy can be prevented and how sexual education can be successfully applied globally.