Why Health Equity Matters

Inequities in disease and well-being come from discrimination and unequal access to society’s benefits, such as conditions that can positively contribute to optimal health like quality education, good jobs, decent and affordable housing, safe neighborhoods and environments, clean water, nutritious foods and adequate healthcare. Even though health and lifespan have improved in most parts of the world for many people, the gap between marginalized populations and other groups has not improved significantly. Across the globe, people from marginalized groups have poorer access to healthy living environments and health services and, as a result, suffer higher rates of morbidity and mortality. Disparities also exist between countries, with less wealthy nations suffering worse health than more affluent nations.

Current Research

The MEASURE (Monitoring and Evaluation to Assess and Use Results) Project works with communities in over 30 countries to strengthen each country’s ability to collect and use health data to understand and address health problems, including health disparities.  MEASURE enables health care systems to use information to make better, more informed policies and decisions, which in turn will lead to improved health outcomes.

Our students play a central role in the movement to bring about health equity. Since 1971, the Gillings School Minority Student Caucus has had a mission to collectively support, represent, encourage and empower minority students, both domestic and international. The Caucus brings the concerns of minority students to the attention of the Gillings School administration and works to attract more students of color to the School. The Caucus held its first Minority Health Conference in 1977. The Conference has since become the largest and longest-running student-led conference in the U.S.

Additional Research in the Field of Health Equity

Prescribing fresh, nutritious food will improve health of low-income, high-risk patients

American Indians, Alaskan Natives have lower five-year cancer survival rate than whites, even in urban areas

Ammerman to lead community partners in tackling healthy food for low-income consumers

Study finds widening disparities in infant mortality and life expectancy between Appalachia, rest of US

Chair of maternal and child health to co-lead grant investigating sexual/gender identity, socioeconomic status and health

Study finds disparities in drinking water quality in Wake County, NC

Lack of optimal breastfeeding may cause alarming disparities in infant deaths, study finds


Highlighted Leaders in the Field