Dear AJPM  reader,

Increasingly, the public health and preventive medicine communities have recognized that successfully addressing health disparities will be key to achieving health equity and ensuring healthcare access for all. Health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence or opportunity to achieve optimal health experienced by socially disadvantaged populations who may face systematic discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability or other socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic factors. 

The latest issue of AJPM examines barriers in access to healthcare that members of minority groups in the United States face. Featured studies include the role of racial microaggressions in delay of prenatal care for African-American women, an analysis of deaf women’s adherence to cancer screening recommendations, and research from Lipson et al. characterizing the mental health status of gender minority undergraduate and graduate college students. 

Lipson SK, Raifman J, Abelson S, Reisner SL.
  • This national survey of universities examined the mental health status of undergraduate and graduate students and found gender minority status was associated with much higher odds of having at least one mental health issue.
Slaughter-Acey JC, Sneed D, Parker L, Keith VM, Lee NL, Misra DP.
  • The study authors explored the role of perceived discrimination in prenatal healthcare use in the context of skin tone bias. They found racial microaggressions were associated with delayed receipt of prenatal care in African-American women with either light or dark brown skin, but not in women with medium brown skin.
Kushalnagar P, Engelman A, Simons AN.
  • Deaf women's adherence to breast cancer screening was found to be similar to that of hearing women after adjusting for sociodemographic and health indicators. However, disparities were found in deaf women’s adherence to cervical cancer screening compared with their hearing counterparts.