Eliminating Health Disparities

Health disparities impact illustration

At the University of Minnesota, we believe far too many families live without health insurance, or find themselves underinsured and lacking the security that health insurance can provide. Our students and faculty help to eliminate health disparities by conducting research to determine what causes gaps in care and by providing care in clinics designed to fill cracks in the healthcare landscape.

 Woman and three children

Ensuring equal access to patient care

Patients receive the best possible care from clinicians they can trust through our free or low-cost health care clinics such as the:

 Black student union forum - people on the panel

Educating and empowering

Within our health sciences programs, we’re educating our students to make a difference once they step from our campus. We empower students to shape the world around them and teach them more than just how to deliver health care.

We engage community members and provide access to information through outreach programs, like those offered by the Masonic Cancer Center.

 Research in lab with a bunch of glass containers

Researching solutions

We are conducting research that will help determine why health disparities occur in the first place, and engineering solutions to combat growing rates of under- and uninsured families nationwide.

Our research spans effors like the Health Equity Work Group in the School of Public Health and the Medical School's Program in Health Disparities Research.

Taking action

Learn more about how our students and faculty are working to help eliminate health disparities every day.

Health care professionals hold unique position to address structural racism

Structural racism and disproportionate use of lethal force by law enforcement officers against communities of color is not new nor is the impact of structural racism in health care and health research. Rachel Hardeman, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health partnered with Katy Kozhimannil, Ph.D., M.P.A. and Eduardo M. Medina, M.D., M.P.H. to identify five ways clinicians and researchers can engage in dismantling structural racism and supporting black lives.

Oral health care for children with special needs

Many children with special health care needs across Minnesota have unmet oral health problems. These patients face broad reaching health disparities especially when their care is limited by complex medical conditions, behavioral challenges and needs for significant team care and complicated treatment procedures. 

An interprofessional trio of University of Minnesota healthcare providers was selected as one of 8 teams in the first 3-year cohort of Clinical Scholars, a new national leadership program, led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Through the clinical scholars program, the team is working to tackle impediments to access to quality dental care for children, particularly for children with special health care needs in Minnesota.

Studying racial disparities in nursing homes

The University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health is leading a comprehensive study of racial disparities in nursing homes and how that relates to quality of life and quality of care. This expands on the team’s preliminary findings, which identified minority nursing home residents had markedly lower quality of life, despite accounting for a host of other factors. The study is funded by the National Institute on Minority and Health Disparities through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), totaling to about $1.8 million in grant funding over the course of five years.