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Virtual Seminar on Persistent and Large Racial/Ethnic Disparities: Beyond the Role of Socioeconomic Status (SES)

The National Advisory Council on Aging review of the NIA's Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) notes “the shocking extent of growing socioeconomic status (SES) and regional differences in mortality and life expectancy, as well as persistent racial inequalities, have been documented, and increasing understanding of the sources and approaches to ameliorating these needs to be a major research focus going forward.” This review encouraged research to move past documenting differences identifying mechanisms operating throughout the life course that create or prevent disparities, and consider macro-social trends investigating growing income inequality, discrimination, and immigration.

To address these disparities, BSR commissioned the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Population (CPOP) to convene an expert meeting on May 18, 2020 virtually to consider both the connections between SES and health across racial/ethnic groups with other factors that drive or ameliorate such disparities. This workshop focused on topics that explored factors beyond SES to explain long-standing differences in health by race/ethnic status to identify (1) what contributes to differences in returns to health associated with social mobility (e.g. attaining higher levels of education or earnings across time or generations), (2) what degree health outcomes are associated with experiences/exposures unique to racial/ethnic minorities (e.g., immigration, discrimination, segregation, etc.) are affected by SES and place-based factors, and (3) what data and methods can be used to further study these topics. A meeting summary is available (PDF, 460K).

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