Research in Health Disparities
The Division's research has had a longstanding focus on understanding health disparities across the continuum of care. The Division's portfolio includes work that identifies groups at risk for health disparities and studies that try to understand the mechanisms that underlie these disparities. This work has focused on underserved groups such as racial and ethnic minorities, immigrant populations, persons who are obese or disabled, and the socio-economically disadvantaged.
Dr. Christina Wee conducted one of the first studies identifying obesity as a potential barrier to preventive care such as cancer screening. Moreover, lower rates of cancer screening associated obesity appeared to be most prominent among Caucasian women but much less so in racial and ethnic minorities such as African American and Hispanic women. Dr. Wee's current work focuses on understanding observed racial and ethnic variation in preferences for weight and the use of effective weight control treatments such as bariatric surgery. She has also collaborated with fellows and trainees to examine the risk of obesity and the prevalence of obesity prevention counseling efforts in immigrant populations and those with disabilities.
Dr. Stephen Juraschek has examined the role of healthcare disparities in access to healthy diets and control of hypertension. He currently directs a trial funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to provide healthy food to African-Americans with hypertension living in Boston food deserts.