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      Unequal Gain of Equal Resources across Racial Groups

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          Abstract

          The health effects of economic resources (eg, education, employment, and living place) and psychological assets (eg, self-efficacy, perceived control over life, anger control, and emotions) are well-known. This article summarizes the results of a growing body of evidence documenting Blacks’ diminished return, defined as a systematically smaller health gain from economic resources and psychological assets for Blacks in comparison to Whites. Due to structural barriers that Blacks face in their daily lives, the very same resources and assets generate smaller health gain for Blacks compared to Whites. Even in the presence of equal access to resources and assets, such unequal health gain constantly generates a racial health gap between Blacks and Whites in the United States. In this paper, a number of public policies are recommended based on these findings. First and foremost, public policies should not merely focus on equalizing access to resources and assets, but also reduce the societal and structural barriers that hinder Blacks. Policy solutions should aim to reduce various manifestations of structural racism including but not limited to differential pay, residential segregation, lower quality of education, and crime in Black and urban communities. As income was not found to follow the same pattern demonstrated for other resources and assets (ie, income generated similar decline in risk of mortality for Whites and Blacks), policies that enforce equal income and increase minimum wage for marginalized populations are essential. Improving quality of education of youth and employability of young adults will enable Blacks to compete for high paying jobs. Policies that reduce racism and discrimination in the labor market are also needed. Without such policies, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate the sustained racial health gap in the United States.

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          STRUCTURAL RACISM AND HEALTH INEQUITIES: Old Issues, New Directions.

          Racial minorities bear a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality. These inequities might be explained by racism, given the fact that racism has restricted the lives of racial minorities and immigrants throughout history. Recent studies have documented that individuals who report experiencing racism have greater rates of illnesses. While this body of research has been invaluable in advancing knowledge on health inequities, it still locates the experiences of racism at the individual level. Yet, the health of social groups is likely most strongly affected by structural, rather than individual, phenomena. The structural forms of racism and their relationship to health inequities remain under-studied. This article reviews several ways of conceptualizing structural racism, with a focus on social segregation, immigration policy, and intergenerational effects. Studies of disparities should more seriously consider the multiple dimensions of structural racism as fundamental causes of health disparities.
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            Race, socioeconomic status, and health: complexities, ongoing challenges, and research opportunities.

            This paper provides an overview of racial variations in health and shows that differences in socioeconomic status (SES) across racial groups are a major contributor to racial disparities in health. However, race reflects multiple dimensions of social inequality and individual and household indicators of SES capture relevant but limited aspects of this phenomenon. Research is needed that will comprehensively characterize the critical pathogenic features of social environments and identify how they combine with each other to affect health over the life course. Migration history and status are also important predictors of health and research is needed that will enhance understanding of the complex ways in which race, SES, and immigrant status combine to affect health. Fully capturing the role of race in health also requires rigorous examination of the conditions under which medical care and genetic factors can contribute to racial and SES differences in health. The paper identifies research priorities in all of these areas.
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              Racism and Health I: Pathways and Scientific Evidence.

              This article reviews the scientific research that indicates that despite marked declines in public support for negative racial attitudes in the United States, racism, in its multiple forms, remains embedded in American society. The focus of the article is on the review of empirical research that suggests that racism adversely affects the health of non-dominant racial populations in multiple ways. First, institutional racism developed policies and procedures that have reduced access to housing, neighborhood and educational quality, employment opportunities and other desirable resources in society. Second, cultural racism, at the societal and individual level, negatively affects economic status and health by creating a policy environment hostile to egalitarian policies, triggering negative stereotypes and discrimination that are pathogenic and fostering health damaging psychological responses such as stereotype threat and internalized racism. Finally, a large and growing body of evidence indicates that experiences of racial discrimination are an important type of psychosocial stressor that can lead to adverse changes in health status and altered behavioural patterns that increase health risks.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Health Policy Manag
                Int J Health Policy Manag
                Kerman University of Medical Sciences
                Int J Health Policy Manag
                International Journal of Health Policy and Management
                Kerman University of Medical Sciences
                2322-5939
                January 2018
                05 August 2017
                : 7
                : 1
                : 1-9
                Affiliations
                1 Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health (CRECH), School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
                2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
                3 Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence to: Shervin Assari assari@ 123456umich.edu
                Article
                10.15171/ijhpm.2017.90
                5745862
                29325397
                e42f3298-864f-4245-b0ae-1c550b9bb432
                © 2018 The Author(s); Published by Kerman University of Medical Sciences

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 05 December 2016
                : 24 July 2017
                Page count
                Tables: 2, References: 147, Pages: 9
                Categories
                Perspective

                racial health disparities,structural barriers,racism,health policy,public policy

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