This article was written amidst a global pandemic and a heightened awareness of the underlying structural racism in the United States, unmasked by the recent murder of George Floyd and multiple other unarmed Black Americans (Spring 2020). The primary goal is to highlight the role of social determinants of health on stroke disparities, encourage research to increase understanding of the mechanism by which SDOH impacts stroke outcomes, inspire dialogue, and develop strategies to address such determinants and reduce stroke racial/ethnic disparities. It begins by defining health disparities and SDOH in today’s context. Then discussing SDOH and stroke, particularly the secondary stroke prevention and concluding with all the possible approaches to reducing stroke disparities and addressing SDOH.
These approaches include:
- Building on prior work;
- Enhancing the understanding of populations as well as subpopulations, including the intersectionality of people experiencing disparities with regards to stroke;
- Prioritizing the points and populations along the stroke care duration when racial or ethnic disparities are most prominent;
- Understanding how SDOH impact stroke disparities, in order to test such interventions;
- Partnering with communities;
- Exploring technological innovations.
Stroke disparities can be reduced by expanding efforts to address SDOH and building on the prior work.
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