Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Steven Bialostok

Abstract

Race is a deeply ingrained part of society, impacting all aspects of a person’s life including health care. In the United States, a person of minority status is more likely to live a sicker and shorter life compared to a Caucasian American. There has never been a time, in the history of the country, that the health status of minorities has been equal to that of Caucasians (Geiger, 2003; Byrd and Clayton, 2000; National Center of Health Statistics, 2003). Minorities live six years shorter than a person of the social majority born at the same time in the same place (National Center for Health Statistics, 2003). Yet, the difference in DNA between one human to any other human on the planet is only half of a percent (Berg et al., 2015). The disparity in health care is not attributed to physical or biological differences between races, but to social and cultural barriers.

The goal of this project was to examine the historical context in which the United States health system began having a health gap between different races, the current scope of the problem with health disparity, and potential solutions. While health disparity is a shocking and dangerous issue, there are steps that the medical community can take to educate future and current health care providers to better care for racial minorities.

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