Advancing health disparities research within the health care system: a conceptual framework

Am J Public Health. 2006 Dec;96(12):2113-21. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.077628. Epub 2006 Oct 31.


We provide a framework for health services-related researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to guide future health disparities research in areas ranging from detecting differences in health and health care to understanding the determinants that underlie disparities to ultimately designing interventions that reduce and eliminate these disparities. To do this, we identified potential selection biases and definitions of vulnerable groups when detecting disparities. The key factors to understanding disparities were multilevel determinants of health disparities, including individual beliefs and preferences, effective patient-provider communication; and the organizational culture of the health care system. We encourage interventions that yield generalizable data on their effectiveness and that promote further engagement of communities, providers, and policymakers to ultimately enhance the application and the impact of health disparities research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Ethnic Groups / genetics
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Priorities
  • Health Services Accessibility* / ethics
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Organizational Culture
  • Poverty
  • Prejudice
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Selection Bias
  • Social Justice*
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • United States
  • Vulnerable Populations* / classification
  • Vulnerable Populations* / ethnology