According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), health disparities are "the differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups in the United States." Being able to do this effectively will require the following:
Due to the complexities involved in health equity and discussions of disparities, here is a listing of the definitions used for purposes of promoting a better understanding of the issues involved.
Culture - An integrated pattern of learned beliefs and behaviors that can be shared among groups (i.e. thoughts, values, physical and mental abilities, socioeconomic status, etc.). (Sources: Robins et al., 1998; Betancourt et al., 2002).
Cultural Competence - Practices, values and behaviors that enable effective cross-cultural interactions among diverse communities.
Health Disparities – The differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups in the United States.
Source: National Institutes of Health
Health Inequalities - The measurable differences and disparities in health status and health outcomes of individuals and groups of people.
Linguistic Competence - The capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively, and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences including persons of limited English proficiency, those who have low literacy skills or are not literate, and individuals with disabilities. The organization must have policy, structures, practices and dedicated resources to support this capacity.
Source: Rose, 2009
Social Determinants of Health – Economic and social conditions that influence the health of people and communities (i.e. transportation, education, health care access, access to affordable nutritious foods, etc.). These conditions are shaped by the amount of money, power and resources that people have, all of which are influenced by policy choices. Social determinants of health affect factors that are related to health outcomes.
Social Justice - Justice in terms of distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within a society (New Oxford American Dictionary) promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity.
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