Health Disparities

Health disparities may impact various groups in society, including:

  • People with disabilities
  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • Women
  • People with low income or low education
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons
  • People living in rural areas

Our research focuses on people with disabilities, many of whom also belong to one or more of the other categories listed above. Our research compares health outcomes among people with disabilities and those without disabilities, and also examines subgroup differences within the population of people with disabilities.

Current research

Analysis of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System  or BRFSS collects information on health conditions, health risks and behaviors and preventive care services among adult residents of the United States. This telephone based survey is conducted at state and local levels by Random Digit Dialing of landlines and cell phones. This questionnaire consists of three sections: a core module that is common among all states, state added modules that are specific to states and optional modules. Analysis and publication work is done in partnership with the Oregon Office on Disability and Health.

Past research

Project Intersect

Addressing health disparities at the intersection of race, ethnicity, and disability, Project Intersect studied how disability in combination with race and ethnicity relates to health, access to health care, and health promotion opportunities. The project was a partnership between OHSU, the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University, the Institute for Disability Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi, the Institute on Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Southern California University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, the College of Arts and Sciences at Pacific University, and a national Advisory Council of people with disabilities and family members. Work included research reviews and studies, publications and presentations, and a national conference.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center

From 2004-2010, the RRTC: Health and Wellness focused on three areas- health care access, health promotion, and the measurement of health. The RRTC was funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education. Work included research and intervention studies, development of tools and guidelines, scholarly publications, research translation and dissemination for policy change, and two "State of the Science" conferences.