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Health Disparities

Resources for students researching health disparities
This guide is focused on resources on health disparities. It is designed to assist students working on assignments or projects on this topic.

Health disparities refer to differences between groups of people. These differences can affect how frequently a disease affects a group, how many people get sick, or how often the disease causes death.

Many different populations are affected by disparities. These include

  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • Residents of rural areas
  • Women, children, the elderly
  • Persons with disabilities

Source: National Cancer Institute (NIH)

Disparities Search Tips

  • PubMed is your "go to" research database for Public Health topics including Health/Healthcare Disparities.
  • Depending on the issue being researched, you might want to consider searching in research databases that cover other health-related subject areas. For example, if you are researching a health behavior, you might search the Psychology Databases. Or if you are researching a health education topic, consider searching in the Education Databases.

Take the time to consider carefully the subject of your literature search.

BE SPECIFIC when choosing topical words for your disparity.

You may need to do some preliminary research to learn more about the topic so that you can understand which concepts are significant to your question.

Search with subject headings rather than keywords when applicable headings are available.

**Medical Subject Headings are ideal search terms for this part of your Disparities Search because there can be much variant terminology used to describe specific population groups,

For racial/ethnic population groups, consider headings included here:

For populations defined by geographic location such as region, state, particular city, consider headings included here:

For populations defined by socioeconomic status, consider headings like these:

Limit your PubMed search retrieval to articles discussing particular age groups using these strategies:

Use the filter options to limit your retrieval to articles discussing a specific sex:

Search "disparity" as a topical concept in itself.

Try this search string:

disparit* OR inequit* OR inequalit*

Other keywords to consider:

Some MeSH headings to consider: (only used on records 2008-current)

Try this "canned" search strategy!

Searching specifically for studies of interventions addressing health/healthcare disparities is difficult.

Authors use many words to describe the particular interventions being tested.

Try this simple search string for a start:

intervention OR program

Some other keywords to consider:

Some Medical Subject Headings to consider:

Consider limiting to Publication Characteristics (such as Clinical Trial, Controlled Study, etc.) using Article Types Filter Options.

Try the "Clinical Study Categories" search in PubMed Clinical Queries to retrieve studies using high quality research methodologies: