About this Research Topic
From macro-level social processes, to micro-aggressions, and molecular-level alterations, the causes of minority health disparities are varied and complex. To that end, the National Institute of Minority Health Disparities has developed a multilevel research framework that considers biologic, behavioral, environmental (physical, social, cultural), and health care system factors as jointly shaping health disparities. While comprehensive in its scope, minority health disparities research and practice often focuses on singular components of the framework in part due to discipline specific training of investigators. As the causes of minority health disparities cross disciplines, so too must investigator expertise and practice-based solutions. Moreover, in order to eliminate minority health disparities, research should move beyond identifying proximal health care related determinants, and more broadly focus on upstream contextual determinants and effective strategies for health disparities prevention. Also, the biologic mechanisms connecting the exogenous determinants to disparities in health outcomes are not well understood. Biologic factors that are sensitive to lived experience, such as epigenetic mechanisms and the microbiome, may be key in understanding how deleterious exposures become biologically embedded to drive minority health disparities. Moreover, elucidating the biologic mechanisms sensitive to positive factors that promote health may be key in promoting resilience and eliminating disparities. Thus, a critical interdisciplinary review of the many interrelated domains of influence contributing to minority health disparities is warranted. Doing so will identify gaps in the evidence base and highlight fundamental next steps for researchers and practitioners working to understand and eliminate minority health disparities.
In this Research Topic, we solicit two types of review papers. First, we solicit review papers that describe the interdisciplinary and multilevel determinants of disparities for major health conditions. Articles focusing on chronic and infectious conditions affecting racial/ethnic minority populations at any life stage are of particular interest (e.g., cancer, CVD, perinatal/reproductive outcomes, mental health, HIV/AIDS). Each article should focus on a health condition and describe the major biologic, behavioral, environmental, and systems level determinants that contribute to minority health disparities for that condition. Articles must also provide an integration section that explicitly discusses the putative biologic mechanisms linking exposures to disparities for the outcome. Gaps for future research and prevention should also be discussed. Articles focusing exclusively on health care related determinants will not be accepted. Second, we solicit review papers that highlight interdisciplinary best-practices related partnering with communities and in training the next generation of the health disparities scholars and practitioners. These best-practice papers should describe the components of the program or partnership, highlight how interdisciplinary and multilevel determinants of minority health disparities are emphasized in practice, discuss successes and challenges of the initiative, and recommendations for future programmatic work. These two sets of review papers will lay the foundation for future interdisciplinary minority health disparities prevention research and practice.
Keywords: minority health disparities, multilevel determinants, biologic mechanisms
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.