Disparities are differences in health outcomes among groups from sources, including broadly defined environmental exposures and historically experienced social injustice. Large health disparities are defined by many factors, including race/ethnicity, sex, age, demographics, and socioeconomic status. Studying such disparities rely on the measures of disease burden. Traditional measures, such as mortality, are less applicable to neurological disorders, often leading to substantial morbidity and lower quality of life, without necessarily causing death. This summary, reviews the epidemiological approaches to examine the determinants of ethnic and racial disparities in the U.S. related to stroke, it’s care as well as outcomes.

Overall, health disparities pose a serious public health problem that affects the majority of Americans. Approximately 1/3 people in the U.S. belong to a racial/ethnic minority population. Over half of the U.S. population are women, 15% live in the southeastern stroke belt states. Approximately 12% of the population not living in nursing homes or other residential care facilities have a disability. Another 4% of the U.S. population aged 18-44 years identify as LGBT+. Nearly 1/4 of the population lives in the rural areas. Thus, health disparities do not reflect numbers or minority status alone but rather the systematic and historical challenges to adequate health and health care.

Analyses of population-based observational studies, patient registries, and administrative data may be used to understand these disparities. Overall, focusing on improving outcomes amongst all patients and eliminating differences between those with better outcomes and those who have historically been under-resourced should drive these approaches.

Ref: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.030424