The Health Disparities Institute for Research and Education (HDIRE) is a newly established initiative at Tuskegee University that will address some of the major health disparities that are observed in underserved and minority communities such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and HIV/AIDS.
What are Health Disparities?
The legal definition of health disparities is taken from U.S. Public Health Law 106-525 that was passed in 2000. This law is also known as the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act. It stipulates that:
“Health disparities are defined as differences in the overall rate of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality or survival rates in the population as compared to the health status of the general population.”
In the “Healthy People 2020” brochure released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a health disparity is defined as:
“... A particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their: (1) racial or ethnic group; (2) religion; (3) socioeconomic status; (4) gender; (5) age; (6) mental health; (7) cognitive, sensory or physical disability; (8) sexual orientation or gender identity; (9) geographic location; or (10) other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.”