Is Race a Risk Factor? And Other Questions About Social Determinants of Health and Race-Related Health Disparities


About This Webinar

Over the past year, Native, Black and Hispanic populations in the U.S. had three times the number of hospitalizations and twice as many deaths related to COVID compared to White populations (CDC, 2021). The pandemic only highlighted an already existing common trend in U.S. healthcare: racial and ethnic minorities are often at higher risk for severe health conditions and poorer health outcomes. But what role does race play in this trend? Is race really a risk factor for health disparities? And how do we move from being informed about health disparities to involved in dismantling systems that exacerbate health inequity?

In recent years, the narrative around race-related health disparities has shifted. Rather than examining race as a risk factor for worsened health outcomes, the healthcare lens is focusing on racism in healthcare systems and inequities across social determinants of health as the leading drivers of health disparities. More importantly, this lens puts the onus on healthcare providers and leaders to examine whether patients are well-served through existing structures in their healthcare systems.

Aligning with this shift, this session examines health disparities and health inequity in the American healthcare system, specifically focusing on the roles that social determinants of health and experiences of racism play.

This presentation incorporates didactic portions to present facts about health disparities and inequity in the United States and explore the factors contributing to health inequity. We also examine the impact of unaddressed provider biases and whether social determinants of health are adequately addressed in current treatment practices. Finally, this presentation explores what healthcare systems need to focus on in order to prioritize health equity and reduce the impact of health disparities on patient outcomes.


At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to…

  • Explain why classifying race as a risk factor is problematic
  • Identify the social and systemic factors (i.e., SDOH) that drive health disparities and inequity and how these factors play out on a daily basis in patient care
  • Evaluate common current treatment practices that hinder health equity and explore the importance and benefits of replacing them with culturally-sensitive treatment strategies


Rola Aamar, PhD


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