Health Disparities in the United States: Social Class, Race, Ethnicity, and the Social Determinants of Health


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Health Disparities in the United States: Social Class, Race, Ethnicity, and the Social Determinants of Health Author: Format: Paperback / softback First Published: Published By: Johns Hopkins University Press Pages: 376 Illustrations and other contents: 3 Halftones, black and white; 53 Line drawings, black and white Language: English ISBN: 9781421432588 Category:

The health care system in the United States has been called the best in the world. Yet wide disparities persist between social groups, and many Americans suffer from poorer health than people in other developed countries. In this revised edition of Health Disparities in the United States, Donald A. Barr provides extensive new data about the ways low socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity interact to create and perpetuate these health disparities. Examining the significance of this gulf for the medical community and society at large, Barr offers potential policy- and physician-based solutions for reducing health inequity in the long term. This thoroughly updated edition focuses on a new challenge the United States last experienced more than half a century ago: successive years of declining life expectancy. Barr addresses the causes of this decline, including what are commonly referred to as “deaths of despair”-from opiate overdose or suicide. Exploring the growing role geography plays in health disparities, Barr asks why people living in rural areas suffer the greatest increases in these deaths. He also analyzes recent changes under the Affordable Care Act and considers the literature on how race and ethnicity affect the way health care providers evaluate and treat patients. As both a physician and a sociologist, Barr is uniquely positioned to offer rigorous medical explanations alongside sociological analysis. An essential text for courses in public health, health policy, and sociology, this compelling book is a vital teaching tool and a comprehensive reference for social science and medical professionals.

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"This very fundamental book about health disparities in the United States gives an up to date and comprehensive summary of the current knowledge about this important health topic. It offers potential policy--and physician--based solutions for reducing social inequalities in health in the long run." --Socialnet "This book will be of interest to everyone with an interest in diversity issues and the effects of inequality on child development, and all those who value and treasure the NHS." --Nursing Standard "Dr. Barr's book is an excellent read on how race and ethnicity affect health care and contribute to health disparities." --Family Medicine "Clearly written, with an extensive list of references, it will be useful for all audiences and an important text for professionals in the health field, especially those in medical education. Highly recommended." --Choice "Clearly articulates the problem of health disparities and how socioeconomic status and race and ethnicity are interwoven. Barr has brought together a vast amount of material in a conceptually meaningful way that hopefully will be digested by those in training to be medical professionals." --Diane R. Brown, Ph.D., Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey "Barr's book will go a long way toward convincing American policy makers and the public that health disparities are neither acceptable nor inevitable." --Social Service Review "Barr has written a captivating and well-researched book." --Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare "A masterful, timely, up-to-date, and reader-friendly overview of health disparities in the United States." --Social Work in Health Care "Health Disparities in the United States will serve well as a foundational text for courses on the subject and for individuals looking for a well-organized, highly researched text." --JAMA

Author Biography

Donald A. Barr, MD, PhD, is a professor of pediatrics and (by courtesy) of education at Stanford University. He is the author of Introduction to U.S. Health Policy: The Organization, Financing, and Delivery of Health Care in America and Introduction to Biosocial Medicine: The Social, Psychological, and Biological Determinants of Human Behavior and Well-Being.