Health disparities research is enabled by data diversity but requires much tighter integration of collaborative efforts

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The world is diverse, and this needs to be better recognized and addressed in health research. Health Disparities (HD) are a growing concern, which affects not only the world at a global scale, but individual countries and their own diversity [1]. The spectrum of individual health is moulded not solely by genetics or socio-economics [2], but by a combination of numerous factors, which include other key parameters such as geographic location [3] (to reflect rurality or segregation that can reduce access to care), impeding monitoring, risk reduction, diagnosis, and treatment of medical conditions [4]. The multifaceted nature of the problem demands availability of relevant data, analysis approaches, and research infrastructure. In addition to interdisciplinary partnerships among scientists in health, geography, data science or sociology, work is also needed to unite researchers, clinicians, politicians, and the communities themselves (Figure 1). Only such harmonious integration across stakeholders will ensure the impact of complex health data are accurate, useful, and actionable. Failure to accommodate the diversity of needs using equally diverse and relevant data results in HD.

Bibliographic note

Funding Information: Funding: Birmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement and Education (BRIDGE) funds. Authorship contributions: All authors contributed equally to this work. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript. Competing interests: The authors completed the ICMJE Unified Competing Interest form (available upon request from the corresponding author), and declare no conflicts of interest. Publisher Copyright: Copyright © 2020 The Author(s) Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Article number020351
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Global Health
Issue number2
Early online date23 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020