The State of Health Equity Research: Closing Knowledge Gaps to Address Inequities

The State of Health Equity Research: Closing Knowledge Gaps to Address Inequities


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Number of pages:15
Year published:2014
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Health and health care inequities persist, despite federal funding mechanisms, legislation, and goals to reduce and eliminate them. Certain demographic groups, including racial and ethnic minorities and the poor, continue to experience disproportionate morbidity and mortality.

Until now, no effort has been made to conduct a comprehensive portfolio analysis of health disparities - or health equity-focused research with the goal of understanding whether these targeted investments are addressing key health disparities and all priority populations. This understanding is needed to support the type of solutions-focused research that will enable society to close or narrow health and health care gaps.

This report, produced by the AAMC and AcademyHealth, presents the results of a qualitative analysis of all U.S.-based, health disparities-focused health services research (HSR) to analyze trends (2007–2011) in funding and grantee institutions, the populations and outcomes studied, and shifts in these investigations’ focus on detecting, understanding, or eliminating inequities in health and health care.

Results of this research can guide both federal and nonfederal funders so resources are allocated to health outcomes and population groups currently underrepresented in disparities-focused HSR and to projects that aim to build the evidence base for solutions to these gaps. By targeting funding efforts in this way, we can hasten the development of an evidence base that is responsive to communities that could benefit most.

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