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Health Equity


Welcome to the Health Equity Research Guide. Within this guide, you'll discover the following:

  1. Gain a deeper understanding of the concept of Health Equity.
  2. Identify the most suitable databases and effective search strategies for your health equity research.
  3. Locate pertinent data and statistics for your research on health equity.
  4. Explore recommended web-based and open access resources.

Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) shape health outcomes, stemming from living conditions, economic policies, social norms, and political systems.

They significantly impact health inequities, with health following a social gradient: lower socioeconomic status correlates with poorer health. Examples include income, education, housing, and access to quality healthcare.

Research highlights SDH's substantial role—accounting for 30-55% of health outcomes—often surpassing healthcare and lifestyle choices in influence.

SDOH can be grouped into five domains: 

  • Economic Stability. 

  • Education Access and Quality. 

  • Health Care Access and Quality. 

  • Neighborhood and Built Environment. 

  • Social and Community Context. 

Credit: Social Determinants of Health - Healthy People 2030 | 



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Debra Bernstein

What is Health Equity?

Health equity is the condition wherein everyone has the equal opportunity to attain an optimal level of health. Achieving health equity demands persistent and concentrated social initiatives to rectify historical and contemporary injustices, to overcome economic and social barriers to health and healthcare, and to eradicate preventable health disparities.

Realizing health equity requires collaborative efforts across various sectors to confront the extensive and profound health disparities found within culture. This involves widening access and eliminating the social and economic impediments that contribute to unfavorable health outcomes.

Obstacles to Health Equity include:

  1. Poverty
  2. Substandard housing
  3. Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions
  4. Limited access to quality employment
  5. Quality education deficits
  6. Access to comprehensive and high-quality healthcare

Credit: Health Disparities - Public Health - LibGuides at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (

What are Health Disparities?

Health disparities refer to preventable distinctions in the prevalence of diseases, injuries, violence, or the opportunities for achieving optimal health, primarily affecting socially disadvantaged populations. These disparities are unjust and stem from the historical and ongoing uneven allocation of social, political, economic, and environmental resources. Structural racism, discrimination, stigma, and persistent marginalization are key drivers of these barriers, disproportionately affecting underserved communities. Additionally, disparities manifest at various stages of life, from infancy through middle age, and among older adults.

Groups Most Affected by Health Disparities:

  1. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities
  2. Women
  3. Children
  4. Individuals with disabilities
  5. LGTBQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and other identities) individuals
  6. Homeless populations
  7. Incarcerated individuals

Credit: Health Disparities - Public Health - LibGuides at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (

Social Determinants of Health

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