UNNATURAL CAUSES is inequality making us sick? HEALTH EQUITY research topics and resources to learn more
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Image Thumbnail American Dream a Nightmare for Many Blacks: study E-mail to a friend
NEWS ARTICLE, Reuters, November 13, 2007

"Black Americans are failing to climb the social ladder, while a worrying number born into the middle classes are now actually poorer than their parents, according to a study released on Tuesday. The report by Brookings Institution scholar Julia Isaacs found blacks were missing out on a cherished American dream that their children will be economically better off...."

Image Thumbnail Applied Research Center E-mail to a friend

"ARC's vision for racial justice is changing the way our society talks about and understands racial inequity. ARC conducts research to expose the subtle racism of laws and regulations that result in real hardship for Black, Latino, Asian and Native communities. We use public policy as a key tool to repair these historic injustices by designing and implementing creative solutions to contemporary problems. Through advocacy leadership we train a new cadre of journalists, community organizers and elected officials to make these solutions real. Finally, ARC works through journalism and the mass media to push a society silenced by guilt and confusion toward a real discussion of racial justice in the 21st century."

Image Thumbnail Black-White Health Disparities in the United States and Chicago: A 15-Year Progress Analysis E-mail to a friend
American Journal of Public Health

Progress towards meeting the Healthy People 2000 and Healthy People 2010 goals of eliminating health inequities remain bleak.  Health gaps between black and white people widened nationally for 6 of 15 measures and in Chicago for 11 of 15 measures between 1990 and 2005, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Image Thumbnail Camara Jones Interview (pdf) E-mail to a friend

In this original interview, Dr. Camara Jones, research director on the social determinants of health at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, discusses her pioneering work on measuring racism and health. She describes three levels of racism (personally mediated, internal and institutional), the stress of everyday racism, and the need to expand our thinking about how racism, opportunity and health inequities are structured and intertwined.

Image Thumbnail Childhood socioeconomic status and adult health E-mail to a friend
Sheldon Cohen, Denise Janicki-Deverts, Edith Chen, and Karen A. Matthews

This article discusses the evidence supporting the link between childhood and adolescent SES and adult health, and explores different environmental, behavioral, and physiological pathways that might explain how early SES would influence adult health.  THe authors also address the ages when SES exposures matter most for setting adult health trajectories as well as the role of exposure duration in SES influences on later health. While early childhood exposures seem to be potent predictors of a range of health outcomes, the authors emphasize that later childhood and adolescent exposures are risks for other health outcomes.

Image Thumbnail Civil Rights Project E-mail to a friend

The Civil Rights Project aims to help renew the civil rights movement by bridging the worlds of ideas and action, to be a preeminent source of intellectual capital within that movement, and to deepen the understanding of the issues that must be resolved to achieve racial and ethnic equity as society moves through the great transformation of the 21st century. They believe that either the country will learn to deal effectively with the richness of its astonishing diversity, or it will lose pace in a globalizing world and decline and divide. Focused research and the best ideas of scholars and leaders from all parts of the country can make a decisive contribution to a renewal of the promise of the civil rights movement.

Image Thumbnail CivilRights.org E-mail to a friend

CivilRights.org is a collaboration of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund. Its mission: to serve as the site of record for relevant and up-to-the minute civil rights news and information.

Image Thumbnail Closing the Black-White Gap in Birth Outcomes: A Life-course Approach E-mail to a friend
Ethnicity & Disease

In the United States, Black infants have significantly worse birth outcomes than White infants.  Over the past decades, public health efforts to address these disparities have focused primarily on increasing access to prenatal care, however, this has not led to closing the gap in birth outcomes.  This article proposes a 12-point plan to reduce Black-White disparities in birth outcomes using a life-course approach.

Image Thumbnail Closing the Gap: Solutions to Race-Based Health Disparities E-mail to a friend
REPORT from the Applied Research Center and Northwest Federation of Community Organizations, 2005

Unhealthy neighborhoods and lack of health care contribute to poor health, and they are unequally distributed. People of color are exposed to greater threats and have less access to quality care. This report outlines causes of inequities as well as promising initiatves around the country to combat them. One chapter focuses on Tohono O'odham Community Action (www.tocaonline.org) an organization co-founded by Terrol Dew Johnson, who appears in the episode "Bad Sugar."

Image Thumbnail Confronting Institutionalized Racism (pdf) E-mail to a friend
ARTICLE by Camara Phyllis Jones, Phylon 2003

A conversational piece aimed at understanding and intervening on the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of the U.S. population. Some questions addressed: Why discuss racism at all when talking about health? What is racism? What is “race”? Is there something about the environment that we can usefully describe as the "racial climate," and if so, how do we measure it and what is it doing? If we want to confront institutionalized racism, what does that really mean and how do we get started?

Image Thumbnail Differences in the self-reported racism experiences of US-born and foreign-born Black pregnant women E-mail to a friend

Differential exposure to minority status stressors may help explain differences in United States (US)-born and foreign-born Black women's birth outcomes.  Self-reported prevalence of personal racism and group racism was significantly higher among US-born than foreign-born Black pregnant women, with US-born women having 4.1 and 7.8 times the odds, respectively, of childhood exposure. Differential exposure to self-reported racism over the life course may be a critically important factor that distinguishes US-born Black women from their foreign-born counterparts.

Image Thumbnail Differing Birth Weight among Infants of U.S.-Born Blacks, African-Born Blacks, and U.S.-Born Whites E-mail to a friend
SCHOLARLY ARTICLE by Richard J. David and James W. Collins, New England Journal of Medicine, 1997

The David and Collins article, cited in When the Bough Breaks, that finds that African-born Black women living in the U.S. had similar delivery outcomes to white American women, while U.S.-born Black women gave birth to babies of significantly lower average birth weight. This relationship still existed when other socioeconomic factors were controlled for.

Image Thumbnail Differing Intergenerational Birth Weights among the Descendants of US-born and Foreign-born Whites and African Americans in Illinois E-mail to a friend
James W. Collins, Jr., Shou-Yien Wu, and Richard J. David in the American Journal of Epidemiology

The authors analyzed Illinois vital records to determine the intergenerational birth weight patterns among the descendants of US-born and foreign-born White and African-American women. Among the descendants of generation 1 European-born White women,  generation 3 females had a birth weight 45 g more than that of their generation 2 mothers . Among the descendants of generation 1 US-born African-American women, generation 3 females had a birth weight 17 g more than that of their generation 2 mothers. Among the descendants of generation 1 African/Caribbean-born women, generation 3 females had a birth weight 57 g less than that of their generation 2 mothers; generation 3 females had a 40% greater moderately low birth weight rate than did their generation 2 mothers: 9.6% percent versus 6.7% percent. Maternal age and marital status did not account for the birth weight trends. The authors conclude that the expected intergenerational rise in birth weight does not occur among the direct female descendants of foreign-born African-American women.

Image Thumbnail Disparities in infant mortality: What's genetics got to do with it? E-mail to a friend
SCHOLARLY ARTICLE by Richard David and James Collins, American Journal of Public Health, 2007

Since 1950, dramatic advances in human genetics have occurred, racial disparities in infant mortality have widened, and the United States' international ranking in infant mortality has deteriorated. The quest for a "preterm birth gene" to explain racial differences is now under way. Scores of papers linking polymorphisms to preterm birth have appeared in the past few years. Is this strategy likely to reduce racial disparities? A review of broad epidemiological patterns contradicts the genetic theory of race and points toward social mechanisms.
A subscription is required to access the full article online.

Image Thumbnail How racism hurts -- literally E-mail to a friend
NEWS ARTICLE by Madeline Drexler, Boston Globe, July 15, 2007

A newspaper article that describes contemporary research on the effects of racism on health.

Image Thumbnail How Racism Impacts Pregnancy Outcomes E-mail to a friend

UCLA obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Michael Lu believes that for many women of color, racism over a life time, not just during the nine months of pregnancy, increases the risk of preterm delivery. To improve birth outcomes, Lu argues, we must address the conditions that impact women's health not just when they become pregnant but from childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.

Image Thumbnail Insights into Racial and Ethnic Group Differences in Birth Outcomes E-mail to a friend
A presentation by Dr. James W. Collins, Jr.

Dr. Collins' presentation surveys the level of infant mortality in the United States and identifies factors that contribute to the US' high rate of infant mortality.  Among these factors are cumulative, transgenerational factors: conditions, and environments experienced by one generation that relate to the pregnancy outcome of the next generation.  These include racism, chronic stress, and poverty.


Image Thumbnail Investigating How Racism Harms Health: New approaches and new findings (pdf) E-mail to a friend
ARTICLE by Nancy Krieger, CCHERS Winter Newsletter 2008, pps 3 and 5

Krieger looks at the history of and present trends in considering "race" in epidemiological research. Though theories regarding the influence of living conditions and social factors on the comparatively poorer health of African Americans go back even to the time of slavery in the U.S., the potential for biological explanations to justify first slavery, then second-class citizenship has contributed to the continuing dominance of bio-determinist (now genetic) explanations for "racial disparities" in mortality and health outcomes. New research is presenting strong evidence that social factors, including racism itself, have powerful effects on physical health.

Image Thumbnail Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies E-mail to a friend

The Joint Center is the nation's only research and public policy institutions that focuses exclusively on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. Current research and analyses address critical issues in three key areas: political participation; economic advancement; and health policy.

Image Thumbnail Kim Anderson's Story E-mail to a friend
VIDEO EXCERPT, Unnatural Causes - Episode 2

When Atlanta lawyer Kim Anderson was pregnant with her first child, she did everything right: she ate a healthy diet, exercised, and got the best prenatal care. But her baby was born almost three months premature. This excerpt from When the Bough Breaks explores racism's impact on pregnancy outcomes.

Image Thumbnail Life Course Model (pdf) E-mail to a friend
ARTICLE from Family, Maternal, and Child Health Programs, Contra Costa Health Services

A two-page pdf with a clear, brief overview of the Life Course Model, along with a list of references to learn more. The Life Course Model suggests that a complex interplay of biological, behavioral, psychological, and social protective and risk factors contributes to health outcomes across the span of a person’s life.

Image Thumbnail Maternal Nutrition and Infant Mortality in the Context of Relationality E-mail to a friend
REPORT by Michael C. Lu and Jessica S. Lu, from the Health Policy Institute, 2007

This background paper explores the relationship between maternal nutrition and infant mortality. It provides an analysis of the relationship between maternal nutrition and leading causes of infant mortality, as well as maternal, infant, and child health; an overview of the nutritional status and behaviors of pregnant women in the U.S.; and a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of nutritional supplementation programs in pregnancy. The final chapters reframe the relationship between maternal nutrition and infant mortality within the context of relationality over the life course and offer related recommendations for research, policy, and practice.

Image Thumbnail Me, My Race, and I E-mail to a friend
INTERACTIVITY from RACE: The Power of an Illusion, 2003

Maybe it affects your every move. Maybe you never notice it.

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes by watching and listening to four slideshows. You may be surprised to learn how great a role race plays in your own life.

Image Thumbnail Measuring Child Poverty: Innocenti Report Card 10 (pdf) E-mail to a friend
CHARTS from Innocenti Research Centre Report Card 10, page 3 (fig. 1B)

The Report Card series is designed to monitor and compare the performance of economically advanced countries in securing the rights of their children. This report sets out the latest internationally comparable data on child deprivation and relative child poverty. 

Image Thumbnail Minority Health Resources Action Kit for Community Leaders E-mail to a friend
TOOLKIT by the Minority Health Initiatives Department at Families USA

The purpose of this Action Kit is to provide community leaders with the information, tools, and resources necessary to engage in health advocacy and improve the health and well-being of their communities. Sections of the toolkit place emphasis on the importance of public programs in reducing racial and ethnic health disparities.

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