The elimination of racial/ethnic health status disparities is a compelling national health objective. It was etched in sharp relief by the 1985 report of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Task Force on Black and Minority Health and considerable attention has been devoted to the problem since that report. But the problem persists, disparities are not fully explained and effective policies to reduce them have been elusive, a situation presenting both opportunities and challenges. Important advances towards reducing racial/ethnic health disparities may be made by better understanding the complex bidirectional relationship between and among the multiple factors, biological and non-biological, influencing morbidity and mortality. The landscape in which these influences are felt is anything but static. In this paper selected components of the landscape that are critical to the elimination of racial/ethnic health status disparities are reviewed. These factors underscore the importance of adopting and maintaining a perspective on health disparities that encompasses a broad array of health determinants.


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pp. 506-521
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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