Definition of Health Dispartiies

Health disparities are particular types of health differences that are closely linked with social or economic disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater social and/or economic obstacles to health and/or clean environment based on their racial or ethnic group, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, age, mental health, cognitive, sensory or physical disability, sexual orientation, geographic location, or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.

The study of health disparities encompasses basic, clinical and social sciences that focus on identifying, understanding, preventing, and treating health conditions associated with disparities locally, nationally, and globally.

[Adapted from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services]