: Health disparities are an intractable, but not inevitable feature of the American stratification system. Sub-population groups that bear the brunt of poverty, marginalized labor, discrimination, wage gaps, and segregation---also bear the brunt of poor health (Williams and Collins 1995). This facet of American life has led to an increased focus on health disparities;in fact, Healthy People 2010 (HP2010) has put forth two lofty goals for the health of our nation. While many gains have been made for HP2010's first goal, to increase quality and years of healthy life---negligible gains have been made to meet the second goal---to eliminate health disparities (DHHS 2000). One of the primary impediments for reaching this goal is most certainly our lack of understanding of which social processes generate health disparities and how these disparities persist amidst declining morbidity and mortality rates. It is clear that genetics does not offer a complete answer to the question of persistent disparities (LaVeist 1994, Cooper 1986, Frank 2007). Consequently, investigations into possible social, economic, and structural explanations are necessary in order to better understand the origin and cause of modern health disparities. One of the most disconcerting finding with regards to health disparities is the persistent racial gap in health, mortality, and morbidity. This proposal represents a systematic and ambitious attempt to both understand and explain how these patterns have both persisted and fluctuated over time. By combining demographic, public health, and sociological theory and methods we propose to critically examine the dynamic patterns of racial health disparities, focusing specifically on the """"""""Black/White"""""""" health gap, by simultaneously estimating the contribution of age, period, and cohort effects on health trends over time. Specifically, this research project will take an ambitious demographic approach to health disparities by looking at age, period, and cohort effects and how they change temporally to produce health disparities and changes in health disparities over time. This approach could prove to be a major addition to current approaches that simply focus on individual-level effects of survey respondents.

Public Health Relevance

This project focuses on social factors that lead to racial health disparities in order to look at temporal changes in racial health disparities across periods and birth cohorts. Using multiple data sources and cutting-edge statistical methodologies, we will look at the factors related to the reproduction and dynamic changes in racial health disparities across generations.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1-PA (R4))
Program Officer
Alvidrez, Jennifer L
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San Diego State University
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
San Diego
United States
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Heo, Jongho; Beck, Audrey N; Lin, Shih-Fan et al. (2018) Cohort-based income gradients in obesity among U.S. adults. Am J Hum Biol 30:
Lin, Shih-Fan; Beck, Audrey N; Finch, Brian K (2016) The Dynamic contribution of chronic conditions to temporal trends in disability among U.S. adults. Disabil Health J 9:332-40
Masters, Ryan K; Powers, Daniel A; Hummer, Robert A et al. (2016) Fitting Age-Period-Cohort Models Using the Intrinsic Estimator: Assumptions and Misapplications. Demography 53:1253-9
Lin, Shih-Fan; Beck, Audrey N; Finch, Brian K (2014) Black-white disparity in disability among U.S. older adults: age, period, and cohort trends. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 69:784-97
Masters, Ryan K; Hummer, Robert A; Powers, Daniel A et al. (2014) Long-term trends in adult mortality for U.S. Blacks and Whites: an examination of period- and cohort-based changes. Demography 51:2047-73
Beck, Audrey N; Finch, Brian K; Lin, Shih-Fan et al. (2014) Racial disparities in self-rated health: trends, explanatory factors, and the changing role of socio-demographics. Soc Sci Med 104:163-77
Lin, Shih-Fan; Beck, Audrey N; Finch, Brian K et al. (2012) Trends in US older adult disability: exploring age, period, and cohort effects. Am J Public Health 102:2157-63
Masters, Ryan K; Hummer, Robert A; Powers, Daniel A (2012) Educational Differences in U.S. Adult Mortality: A Cohort Perspective. Am Sociol Rev 77:548-572
Finch, Brian Karl; Beck, Audrey N (2011) Socio-economic status and z-score standardized height-for-age of U.S.-born children (ages 2-6). Econ Hum Biol 9:272-6
Hummer, Robert A; Chinn, Juanita J (2011) RACE/ETHNICITY AND U.S. ADULT MORTALITY: Progress, Prospects, and New Analyses. Du Bois Rev 8:5-24