Our society values equality as a right for all of our citizens. Yet, the reality is that disparities exist, especially in
health care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010) defines health disparity as “a
particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental
disadvantage.” Health disparities adversely affect specific groups or populations who systematically experience
obstacles to health care based on several factors or variables.
For example, members of disadvantaged populations are known to have poorer health outcomes as compared
to more advantaged populations. Lack of health insurance, poor neighborhoods without quality institutions, lack
of access to health care services, and inadequate health literacy contribute to the disparity. Social workers can
play an instrumental role in closing these gaps through advocacy, education, policy making, and program
development aimed at minority groups.
To prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s resources. Consider cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity in
the United States. Think about how these factors are associated with health and health care disparities.
Post an explanation of health care disparities in a specific minority population. Identify three nonbiological
factors (e.g., public health policy) that might be associated with health care disparities in the population you
selected. Explain medical social worker roles in addressing the three factors to eliminate health care disparities
in the population.