Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2016

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Richard Rothenberg, MD, MPH

Second Advisor

Rodney Lyn, PhD, MS


Health disparities are defined by the U.S. department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as health differences that are closely correlated with social, economic, and environmental disadvantages. Health disparities are disproportionately present among racial and ethnic minorities as a result of disparities in income, unemployment, education, and housing and environment. HHS has outlined five goals to reduce health disparities: (1) Transform health care by reducing barriers to access to care; (2) Strengthen the nation’s Health and Human Services infrastructure and workforce through increased diversity in the health care workforce and culturally competent care; (3) advance the health, safety, and well being of the American people by creating environments that promote healthy behavior; (4) Advance scientific knowledge and innovation through increased patient centered research in prevention, screening, diagnostic and treatment services; and (5) Increase the efficiency and accountability of HHS programs by better coordinating and integrating minority health programs(Health and Human Services, 2011).

Four reports (CDC, Inequalities Report, The Kelly Report, AHRQ, Disparities ad quality report, and the Westside Health Collaborative Report (WHC)) were used to attain a better view of the health disparities. The concordance of each report to the HHS goals, as well as concordance between reports of the description of health disparities in racial and ethnic minorities was assessed.

All four reports were largely similar in their conclusion that racial and ethnic minorities experience greater barriers to access to healthcare and have higher rates of negative health outcomes. The four reports were also similar in their recommendations for each of the five HHS goals. Medicaid expansion, increased access to health services and health education, training community health workers, increased funding for minority serving institutions, and increased race specific research were among the recommendations. Next steps should focus largely on implementation of programs rather than research