The Fund supports several networks of state health policymakers to help identify, inspire, and inform policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund supports two state leadership programs for legislative and executive branch state government officials committed to improving population health.
The Fund identifies and shares policy ideas and analysis on topics important to state health policymakers, particularly on issues related to state leadership, primary care, aging, and health care costs.
Keep up with news and updates from the Milbank Memorial Fund. And read the latest blogs from our thought leaders, including Fund President Christopher F. Koller.
The Fund publishes The Milbank Quarterly, as well as reports, issues briefs, and case studies on topics important to health policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund is is a nonpartisan foundation focused on improving the health of communities and entire populations.
Alyce M. Whipp
Dec 23, 2021
Back to The Milbank Quarterly
Context: Reporting on health disparities is fundamental for meeting the goal of reducing health disparities. One often overlooked challenge is determining the best way to report those disparities associated with multiple attributes such as income, education, sex, and race/ethnicity. This article proposes an analytical approach to summarizing social disparities in health, and we demonstrate its empirical application by comparing the degrees and patterns of health disparities in all fifty states and the District of Columbia (DC).
Methods: We used the 2009 American Community Survey, and our measure of health was functional limitation. For each state and DC, we calculated the overall disparity and attribute-specific disparities for income, education, sex, and race/ethnicity in functional limitation. Along with the state rankings of these health disparities, we developed health disparity profiles according to the attribute making the largest contribution to overall disparity in each state.
Findings: Our results show a general lack of consistency in the rankings of overall and attribute-specific disparities in functional limitation across the states. Wyoming has the smallest overall disparity and West Virginia the largest. In each of the four attribute-specific health disparity rankings, however, most of the best-and worst-performing states in regard to overall health disparity are not consistently good or bad. Our analysis suggests the following three disparity profiles across states: (1) the largest contribution from race/ethnicity (thirty-four states), (2) roughly equal contributions of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic factor(s) (ten states), and (3) the largest contribution from socioeconomic factor(s) (seven states).
Conclusions: Our proposed approach offers policy-relevant health disparity information in a comparable and interpretable manner, and currently publicly available data support its application. We hope this approach will spark discussion regarding how best to systematically track health disparities across communities or within a community over time in relation to the health disparity goal of Healthy People 2020.
Author(s): Yukiko Asada, Yoko Yoshida, and Alyce M. Whipp
Keywords: health status disparities, methods, socioeconomic factors
Read on Wiley Online Library
Volume 91, Issue 1 (pages 5–36) DOI: 10.1111/milq.12001 Published in 2013
Get the Latest from the Milbank Memorial Fund
The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.