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This knowledge path directs readers to a selection of current, high-quality resources about preventing, identifying, and eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health. Health professionals, program administrators, policymakers, and researchers can use this knowledge path to learn more about health disparities, health equity, and removing barriers to care; for program development; and to locate training resources and information to answer specific questions. A separate brief lists resources for families. This knowledge path has been developed by the MCH Library at Georgetown University and will be updated periodically.

View Related MCH Library Resources for guides about culturally competent services, health literacy, life course and social determinants, and more.


View the Healthy People 2020 definitions for health equity and health disparity.


For an overview of racial and ethnic health disparities and Department of Health and Human Services initiatives to reduce them, see HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities: A Nation Free of Disparities in Health and Health Care (2011).

For analysis and reporting of the recent trends and ongoing variations in health disparities and inequalities in selected social and health indicators, see CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report—United States, 2013 (2013). Infant mortality, preterm births, and adolescent pregnancy and childbirth are among the maternal and child health (MCH) topics addressed.

Also view Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?, a seven-part documentary series exploring racial and socioeconomic inequalities in health, including disparities in pregnancy outcomes. Discussion guides, video clips, an action toolkit, a resource database, and other materials accompany the series.

Resources for Professionals


Journal Articles, Reports, Briefs, Guides, and Multimedia Resources


Programs Databases

News and Commentary

Resources for Families

Related MCH Library Resources

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health: Knowledge Path, 6th ed. (February 2013). (Updated: August 2014).

Author: Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., MCH Library.
Reviewers: Suzanne Bronheim, Ph. D., National Center for Cultural Competence; Olivia K. Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., MCH Library; Shree Mohanty, M.A., M.S., R.D., L.D., Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Region V.
Editor: Ruth Barzel, M.A., MCH Library.