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Topics in Social Work: Minority Health Disparities

What Are Health Disparities?

According to the CDC, "some minorities experience a disproportionate burden of preventable disease, death, and disability compared with non-minorities". Examples of such disparities include increased rates of infant mortality in African American, American Indian, and Puerto Rican infants, increased risk for African Americans in the area of heart disease and stroke, and increased rates of depression and substance abuse in American Indians and Alaska Natives - among many other concerning differences between majority and minority health conditions and outcomes. For Social Workers working in community health and/or serving various minority groups, this represents a significant challenge. What role do these disparities play in the lives of populations you will be working with? Can these disparities be addressed?

Introducing the CEMHD

The Center for Elimination of Minority Health Disparities, based right here on UAlbany's campus, aims to answer those questions and more. An active participant in fulfilling President Jones's 4 point plan, which includes a key goal of better engaging UAlbany with the local community, the Center's mission is to "contribute to the elimination of minority health disparities in the smaller cities and towns of New York." Through projects, publications, education initiatives, and research, the Center engages community members, organizations, schools, local health care providers, and more in order to make meaningful strides forward on this critical issue.

Want to learn more about the Center? A variety of resources are available on their website. See especially their list of publications to see how UAlbany School of Social Welfare faculty are contributing to the research on this topic.

Investigating Minority Health Disparity Research

Engaged in classes or research on the topic of health disparities among minorities? The Center provides an excellent jumping off point for learning more about this topic on its website, with links to a variety of national, state, and local organizations engaged with minority health initiatives and education. The University Libraries also have a variety of sources to inform your studies. Check out one of our many books on the topic - many available right here at Dewey - or use one of the following databases to turn up a plethora of studies and scholarly articles:


Books Available via the Library

  • Bhopal, R. S. (2007). Ethnicity, race, and health in multicultural societies: Foundations for better epidemiology, public health and health care. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Dewey Library / RA 563 M56 B56 2007
  • Brennan, V. M., Kumanyika, S. K., & Zambrana R. E. (Eds.). (2014). Obesity interventions in underserved communities: Evidence and directions. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
    Online / RA645.O23 O244 2014
  • Hart, T. (2015). Health in the city: Race, poverty, and the negotiation of women’s health in New York City. New York: New York University Press.
    Online / RA566.4.I3
  • Kline, M. V., & Huff, R. M. (Eds.). (2007). Health promotion in multicultural populations: A handbook for practitioners and students. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.
    Dewey Library / RA 427.8 H497515 2007
  • Loue, S., & Sajatovic, M. (Eds.). (2009). Determinants of minority mental health and wellness. New York: Springer.
    Dewey Library / RC 451.5 A2 D48X 2009
  • Metrosa, E. V. (Ed.). (2006). Racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
    Dewey Library / RA 418.3 U6 R33 2006
  • Meyer, I. H., & Northridge, M. E. (Eds.). (2007).The health of sexual minorities: Public health perspectives on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations. New York: Springer.
    Dewey Library / HV 1449 H42 2007
  • Notaro, S. R. (Ed.). (2012). Health disparities among under-served populations: Implications for research, policy, and praxis. Bingley, UK: Emerald.
    Dewey Library / RA 448.4 H43 2012
  • Nzira, V. (2009). Anti-oppressive practice in health and social care. Los Angeles: SAGE.
    Dewey Library / HV 3176 N95X 2009
  • Shaw, S. J. (2012). Governing how we care: Contesting community and defining difference in U.S. public health programs. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
    Dewey Library / RA 445 S46X 2012

Need additional research assistance? Don't hesitate to get in touch with Social Welfare Subject Librarian Elaine Lasda Bergman! Visit during office hours weekly on Tuesdays from 5-8pm, or email Elaine at to set up an appointment or to get help remotely.

Blog Created By: Rebekah Jarvis-Girtler
Image Credit: Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities

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