Despite great strides in the advancement of public health, health disparities – based on ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic class – still exist, leading to populations that are disproportionately affected by disease and have limited access to health care. Disadvantaged populations often find affordable health care to be inaccessible, and more prominent incidences of chronic diseases, like obesity and heart disease, are common. Professionals in the public health field are committed to making health care accessible to all sectors of society and discovering how to serve diverse individuals and populations, which may be at greater risk.

Spotlight

Rising insurance costs leave many populations underserved and in the dark.

50 million people in the U.S. are uninsured, and that figure is disproportionately high among Black and Hispanic Americans. The country’s uninsured population often finds itself in a bind—insurance costs are skyrocketing, but remaining without insurance is also becoming a financial impossibility. Public health professionals who work on health disparities are committed to finding policy solutions that expand affordable health care to the widest sectors of the population. Recent legislative efforts, including the Affordable Care Act, are results of public health efforts in the intersection of policy, advocacy, and health science. The field remains committed to finding policy solutions that assist the majority of Americans in finding affordable and accessible health care solutions.

74 Years The average life expectancy of Native Americans — four years less than the rest of the U.S, according to the Indian Health Service.

Spotlight

Heart disease is a top killer of women, but research is done mostly on men.

The number one killer of women in the United States is heart disease, where 25 percent of the female population will die of a coronary-related illness. With such a staggering statistic, public health professionals have noted that most medical research is conducted on men. This imbalance is notable because more women will die of heart disease than men, and coronary disease affects men and women in different ways. Public health professionals are responsible for raising awareness about gender disparities in health research and they draft policies that ensure both men and women are treated equally in the search for medical resources and research funding.