Publications and Scientific Articles Relevant to Minority Health by OMHHE, CDC, HHS and Others. For further information, please see CDC Publications.
Everyone should have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible, but recent data show many racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes in people living in rural areas. Race and ethnicity are important to consider when assessing health outcomes and health differences in rural communities.
What are health disparities?
Health disparities are differences in health outcomes and their causes among groups of people. Reducing health disparities creates better health for all Americans.
Health disparities in rural communities
This MMWR examines health disparities among racial/ethnic populations in rural communities in the U.S. While researchers often refer to differences between rural and urban communities, this report emphasizes the importance of research on disparities within rural communities. These communities often have worse health outcomes and less access to care than urban communities do.
Key points of this report show that in rural areas of the U.S.:
- More American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), blacks, and Hispanics self-reported fair or poor health than whites.
- Frequent mental distress was reported more often among AI/ANs and blacks compared to whites in rural areas. Depression was also more common among AI/ANs than whites.
- Fewer blacks and Hispanics reported having health care coverage than whites.
- Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders less often had a personal health care provider than whites.
- Compared to most other racial/ethnic groups, whites more often reported binge drinking.
- Blacks and AI/ANs were more likely to have obesity or severe obesity than whites.
An overarching goal of Healthy People 2020External is to achieve health equity and eliminate health disparities. To reach this goal and improve the health of populations, health programs must know what the needs are and how they can work with community groups and others to address them. Health programs should examine data by race/ethnicity and other demographics and use community health needs assessments to better identify disparities and develop effective initiatives to eliminate them. Programs can implement the National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services StandardsExternal to increase their ability to address the health needs of rural racial/ethnic populations. Using these standards will help rural health programs not only be more effective overall but also reduce disparities.
This CDC Vital Signs looks at disparities in life expectancy and the leading causes of death for blacks compared with whites in the U.S. The death rate for African-Americans (blacks) declined 25 percent from 1999 to 2015, but disparities still persist between blacks and whites. Although blacks as a group are living longer, their life expectancy is still 4 years less than that of whites. The study also found that blacks in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more likely to live with or die from conditions that typically occur at older ages in whites, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Social and economic conditions, such as poverty, contribute to gaps in health differences between blacks and whites, according to the report. In all age groups, the analysis showed that blacks had lower educational attainment and home ownership and nearly twice the rate of poverty and unemployment as whites.
Among the key findings from the report:
- Blacks ages 18 to 64 are at higher risk of early death than whites.
- Disparities in the leading causes of death for blacks compared with whites are pronounced by early and middle adulthood, including homicide and chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Blacks ages 18-34 years and 35-49 years are nine times and five times, respectively, as likely to die from homicide as whites in the same age groups.
- Blacks ages 35-64 are 50 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than whites.
- Blacks ages 18-49 years, are two times as likely to die from heart disease than whites.
- Blacks have the highest death rate for all cancers combined compared with whites.
2014 and 2016 Strategies
The CDC Vital Signs: Leading Causes of Death, Prevalence of Diseases and Risk Factors, and Use of Health Services Among Hispanics in the United States — 2009–2013, published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), is CDC’s first national study of leading causes of death, disease prevalence, risk factors, and access to health services among Hispanics or Latinos living in the U.S.. The study, conducted by CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, used recent national census and health surveillance data to assess differences among non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic/Latinos, 1 out of 6 people living in the U.S. are Hispanic and Hispanic/Latino origin subgroups overall and by sex and nativity, and to identify subpopulations of Hispanic/Latinos at greatest risk for leading causes of death and disease.
For just the report, it can be found directly at MMWR Weekly, May 8, 2015 / 64(17);469-478.
The CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report – United States, 2013, published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), is the second consolidated assessment that highlights health disparities and inequalities across a wide range of diseases, behavioral risk factors, environmental exposures, social determinants, and health-care access by sex, race and ethnicity, income, education, disability status and other social characteristics. It provides new data for 19 of the topics published in 2011 and presents 10 new topics.
For more information, including the 2013 Report, a Report Fact Sheet, Topic Tables, and related materials, see CDC’s Minority Health, Health Disparities & Inequalities Report Website.
For just the report, it can be found directly at MMWR Supplement, November 22, 2013, Vol. 62, Supplement No. 3, pg. 1-187.
The CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report – United States, 2011, is the first in a series of periodic, consolidated assessments that highlight health disparities by sex, race, and ethnicity, income, education, disability status and other social characteristics in the U.S.
The report provides analysis and reporting of the recent trends and ongoing variations in health disparities and inequalities in selected social and health indicators, both of which are important steps in encouraging actions and facilitating accountability to reduce modifiable disparities by using interventions that are effective and scalable.
For more information, including the 2011 Report, an Executive Summary, Report Fact Sheet, 22 Topic Specific Fact Sheets, and related materials, see CDC’s Minority Health, Health Disparities & Inequalities Report, 2011 Website.
For just the report, it can be found directly at MMWR Supplement, January 14, 2011, Vol. 60, pg.1-116.
- National Partnership for Action (NPA)External
- National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health EquityExternal
- HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial & Ethnic Health DisparitiesExternal
- Measuring Healthcare QualityExternal 2010 National Healthcare Disparities ReportExternal Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) Summarizes health care quality and access among various racial, ethnic, and income groups and other priority populations, such as children and older adults.
- HHS OMH Culturallly and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health CareExternal Sponsored by HHS OMH, CLAS includes recommendations for national standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health care.
- Making Cancer Health Disparities HistoryCdc-pdfExternal A Report of the Trans-HHS Cancer Health Disparities Progress Review Group.
- For more, please see HHS OMH ReportsExternal
- Healthy People 2020External
Meeting on Health Care DisparitiesExternal U.S. Commission on Civil Rights,
June 12th, 2009
HHS in the 21st Century: Charting a New Course for a Healthier AmericaExternal Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM)
December 9th, 2008
Minorities in Medicine: An Ethnic and Cultural Challenge for Physician Training, An UpdateExternal Council on Graduate Medical Education,
17th Report, 2005
Disparities in Lung Health SeriesExternal American Lung Association,
CDC’s Office of Minority Health was established by the CDC Director on August 8, 1988 as a small coordination office, set up in response to Secretary Heckler’s 1985 landmark report on minority health. To view the full report, see the links below:
The Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black & Minority HealthExternal Margaret M. Heckler, HHS Secretary October 16, 1985.
- Volume 1: Executive SummaryExternal
- Volume 2: Crosscutting Issues in Minority HealthExternal
- Volume 3: CancerExternal
- Volume 4, Part 1: Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular DiseaseExternal
- Volume 4, Part 2: Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular DiseaseExternal
- Volume 5: Homicide, Suicide, & Unintentional InjuriesExternal
- Volume 6: Infant Mortality & Low BirthweightExternal
- Volume 7: Chemical Dependency & DiabetesExternal
- Volume 8: Hispanic Health Issues, Inventory of DHHS Programs, Survey of Non-Federal CommunityExternal