Ethnic and Racial Health Disparities Research: Issues and Problems

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Racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care are pervasive. A number of research and policy issues have been raised in the examination of disparities. This article analyzes some methodological, conceptual, and political issues that underlie disparities research. Specifically examined are the research challenges posed by the different ways of defining disparities, heterogeneity within racial or ethnic groups, measurement issues, conceptual levels of analyses, and financial/political factors. It is suggested that research funding for disparities research be substantially supported and encouraged and that researchers more adequately address methodological and conceptual difficulties that are associated with disparities research

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