General Inequities

Data throughout the United States and elsewhere show that levels of disease, disability, and death are higher across racial, ethnic, and economic groups. Health inequities are differences in population health status and mortality rates that are systematic, patterned, unfair, unjust, and actionable.* This definition recognizes that some of the differences in health status result from a disadvantage or difference in access to things that produce health. RAMP considers disparities to be the differences we see in asthma prevalence and rates of asthma outcomes (e.g., hospitalizations or ER visits), but we define inequities as the unjust causes of those differences. Recognizing and understanding that not everyone has an equal opportunity for health is crucial for improving and expanding the types of interventions implemented to effect change. This section provides information about the existence of health disparities and factors that contribute to their existence.

*Margaret Whitehead, World Health Organization