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Health Disparities Research

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, health disparities are differences in health that are closely linked with social or economic disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater social and/or economic obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion. Groups currently experiencing poorer health status are expected to grow as a proportion of the total U.S. population; therefore, the future health of America as a whole will be influenced substantially by our success or failure in improving the health of these groups. A national focus on disparities in health status is particularly important as major changes unfold in the way in which health care is delivered and financed.

Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health will require enhanced efforts at preventing disease, promoting health and delivering appropriate care. This will necessitate improved collection and use of standardized data to correctly identify all high risk populations and monitor the effectiveness of health interventions targeting these groups. Eliminating health disparities will also require new knowledge about the determinants of disease, causes of health disparities, and effective interventions for prevention and treatment. It will require improving access to the benefits of society, including quality preventive and treatment services, as well as innovative ways of working in partnership with health care systems, state and local governments, tribal governments, academia, national and community-based organizations, and communities. Hopkins GIM faculty are working on several health disparities focus areas identified by the Department of Health and Human Services--Cancer screening and management; Cardiovascular Disease; Diabetes; HIV/AIDS, and Patient-Provider Communication--with particular attention to the health of African Americans.

Information about the faculty working in this research area and their projects is provided below.

Lawrence Appel, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and International Health
Director, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Research Interests: Prevention of blood pressure-related cardiovascular and kidney diseases through pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches, often nutrition-based
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Mary Catherine Beach, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine and Health, Behavior and Society
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research
Core Faculty, Berman Institute of Bioethics
Research Interests: Physician-patient relationship in the primary care setting, in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and among patients with sickle cell disease
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Diane M. Becker, MPH, ScD
Professor of Medicine and Health Policy and Management
Director, Center for Family Studies in Cardiovascular Disease
Director, Center for Health Promotion
Research Interests: Genetic epidemiology, health disparities, primary prevention, behavioral sciences, research design
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH, FACP
Professor of Medicine, Nursing, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, and Health Behavior and Society
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Director, Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities
Research Interests: Disparities in quality of care for cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes and obesity;,racial/ethnic disparities in patient-physician communication; patient-centered care, and patient-reported outcomes;  multi-level interventions to reduce cardiovascular health disparities; community-based participatory research.
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Raquel Greer, MD, MHS
Assistant Professor of Medicine/GIM
School of Medicine
Research Interests: Health disparities in chronic kidney disease
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Kimberly Gudzune, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine/GIM
School of Medicine
Research Interests: Obesity; Social networks; Patient-provider relationships
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Felicia Hill-Briggs, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine/GIM
School of Medicine
Senior Director of Population Health Research and Development, Johns Hopkins Healthcare, LLC
Joint Affiliations: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine; Health, Behavior and Society,  Bloomberg School of Public Health; Acute and Chronic Care, School of Nursing;
Director, Behavior and Psychometrics Sub-Core, Healthcare and Population Science Core, Baltimore Diabetes Research and Training Center
Research Interests: Chronic disease self-management, disability, quality of life, minority health
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Edgar R. (Pete) Miller, MD, PhD 
Professor of Medicine/GIM
School of Medicine
Joint Affiliation: Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Director, Pre-doctoral Clinical Research Training Program
Research Interests: Hypertension, clinical trials, non-pharmacologic therapies, antioxidants
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Craig Pollack, MD, MPH, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Co-Director, GIM Fellowship Program
Research interests: Cancer disparities, organization of cancer care, social determinants of health
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Jessica Yeh, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine/GIM
School of Medicine
Joint Affiliation: Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Director, Data Management and Analysis Sub-Core, Healthcare and Population Science Core, Baltimore Diabetes Research and Training Center
Research Interests: Epidemiology of diabetes and its complications
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

J. Hunter Young, MD, MHS
Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Research Interests: Genetic epidemiology, novel risk factors for CVD, hypertension, and insulin resistance
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED


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