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Health Disparities

Student practicing with stethoscope

Healthy People 2020 defines a health disparity as "a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion."

"Health disparities are differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups in the United States,” National Institutes of Health.

The Burden of Chronic Disease in Maryland

In Maryland, chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes , and hypertension  are the leading cause of death, disability, and health care costs.  In 2007, Medicaid alone spent over $550 million dollars on chronic diseases. Approximately $196.3 Million was spent on hypertension alone, followed by diabetes at $157 Million. Read more