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Disparities in health and health care: focusing efforts to eliminate unequal burdens.

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Georgia State Office of Women's Health in the Department of Community Health.


Disparities in health and health care have been around for more than two centuries. Evidence suggests that health disparities in ethnic and racial minorities continue to be problematic, with little progress made to eliminate them over time. Ethnic and racial disparities exist for multiple and complex reasons. However, new solutions are needed to resolve some of these old problems. Framing the debate and discussion around the distinctiveness related to disparities in health and health care is a necessary beginning in eliminating unequal burdens in health status. Focusing efforts to eliminate unequal burdens can strengthen existing solutions and policy formation related to this issue. This article defines disparities in health and health care, describes current health disparities impacting ethnic/racial groups, reviews historical factors associated with existing disparities in ethnic/racial groups, and concludes with challenges and solutions to alleviate these disparities.

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