Publish at October 11 2021 Updated July 21 2022

History of Racial Inequity in Healthcare

Situate the role of public health in healthcare, and walk through important concepts and definitions -University of Michigan

The first course of the Addressing Racial Health Inequity in Healthcare specialization will first situate the role of public health in healthcare, and walk through important concepts and definitions that you will see throughout the course and subsequent courses. You will walk through the social and biological perspectives on the concepts of race and racism, and unpack the history of unequal treatment in the U.S. You will learn about the health insurance system in the U.S., differential access to care, and professional challenges to diversity in healthcare. And finally, you will explore examples of resilience in healthcare that were critical to preserving the health of marginalized populations.

By the end of the course, you will understand :

  • How history & the factors of lack of access & representation in healthcare parallels other sectors in the U.S. and international contexts
  • Historical events, policies, economic and legal mechanisms created disproportionate disease burden within racial and ethnic groups
  • The evolution of the health insurance system in the United States and in international contexts, and its impact on racial and ethnic populations

Course content :

  • Week 1 - Unpacking Concepts and Definitions : We will structure and root our understanding of what race is and how it interacts and affects all aspects of our society. To observe and understand inequities in the healthcare system, we must first have a basic understanding of concepts and definitions in the health equity literature, and the origins of race and how it came to be a ubiquitous part of modern society.

  • Week 2 - Historical Roots of Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare : The purpose of these lessons are to understand specific events that contributed to the disproportionate disease burden seen in certain communities, and illustrate why health disparities, and in turn, healthcare disparities, exist by race.

  • Week 3 - Evolution & Impact of the Health Insurance System : The US health insurance system is complex and can vary based on your location, age, ability status, and for some groups, your identity. Understanding these differences helps shed a light on how health insurance plays a role in health inequity and specifically, racial health inequity.

  • Week 4 - Access & Professional Representation in Healthcare : We will explore how lack of access and representation in various sectors have had an impact on healthcare equity. By illustrating exclusion and discrimination in other sectors of society, we can better see the same parallels that are observed in healthcare, and how exclusionary practices outside of healthcare contribute to health disparities and causes of inequities that will be detailed in Course 2.

  • Week 5 - History of Resilience in Healthcare : We will spend time learning about how marginalized communities came together to take care of themselves and their demonstration of resilience in the face of inequity. This not only occurred in the US but around the world with many groups.

To enroll

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