Health Disparities Initiative

Initiative Overview

In 2011, the American Psychological Association approved the development of a health disparities initiative as an activity of its Strategic Plan. The purpose of the Health Disparities Initiative is to increase support for research, training, public education and interventions that improve health and reduce health disparities among underserved and vulnerable populations. Learn more about how psychologists are helping to reduce health disparities.

Who is affected by health disparities?

Health disparity populations include a wide range of communities where there is evidence of systematic social or economic discrimination and exclusion that has adversely impacted health based on such factors as race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, age, sexual orientation and geographic location (Office of Minority Health, 2011). These populations, also referred to as health priority populations, include racial/ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, the poor and rural populations, for example.

APA’s Public Interest Directorate has offices and programs that address the concerns of health disparity and other underserved communities. The Public Interest Directorate applies psychology to the fundamental problems of human welfare and social justice and the promotion of equitable and just treatment of all segments of society through education, training and public policy.

How you can learn more

The Public Interest Directorate has highlighted resources in this initiative which reflect the initiative focus on the health conditions of stress, obesity and substance abuse and addiction — selected because of their prevalence and/or impact on health within health disparity population groups, their high association with many other chronic diseases, the maturity of the knowledge base for each of these areas and APA’s and psychology’s demonstrated interest, expertise and experience in these areas.

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Steering Committee