Disparities in Health

Prejudice casts a long shadow. Recent research shows discrimination leaves a lasting impact on human health. Now faculty, led by Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) researchers, are collaborating in a new effort to address the disparities. Consider:

  • African-American men average 7 fewer years of life than men from other races.
  • Transgender adults' rate of attempted suicide is more than 8 times higher than the national rate.
  • Roughly 83,000 deaths per year in the United States occur as a result of racial and ethnic inequities in health care.
  • Health-related spending tied to disparities costs the U.S.  $1 trillion over four years.

The Discrimination and Population Health Disparities Pop-Up Institute, funded by the Office of the Vice President for Research, brings together a wide swath of UT expertise, from HDFS, public affairs, law, nursing, social work, liberal arts, the Dell Medical School and even the Blanton Museum. The institute is part of a new campus-wide initiative to advance research collaboration through concentrated, multidisciplinary efforts over a few months.    

“This is a really important moment where questions of equity are on the radar,” says Stephen Russell, chair of the HDFS department and institute’s leader. “We are creating a community of scholars motivated to understand discrimination in health and to nurture research that will dismantle how it undermines health.”

The Pop-Up Institute capitalizes on the energy and creativity of its members and their different datasets, ways of assessing discrimination and frameworks for discrimination in health outcomes. The ultimate goal is to combine expertise to begin to make a dent in discrimination’s detrimental effects on health.