Health inequalities

  1. What are the potential ethical implications raised in your mind after viewing Dr. Nancy
    Krieger’s presentation, “The Science and Epidemiology of Racism and Health in the
    United States: An Ecosocial Perspective,” and reading her journal article, “The fall and
    rise of U.S. inequities in premature mortality: 1960-2002″?

2.What experiences have you had in public health or other kinds of work that correspond
to the ethical issues she is discussing in this video and article?

Health inequalities

Racism represents one of the inequalities that dominate in health care systems. It is a
factor that contributes to provision and access to inadequate healthcare services victims of racial
discrimination. As postulated by studies, racism tends to be embodied in peoples` life course and
across generations, thus leading to inequalities that continue to be documented in healthcare
services (Krieger, 2008).
Health inequalities come about due social inequalities, including racism and other
inequalities including class and gender. Considering this fact, only individuals who have been
educated and have accumulated wealth can access improved health care services. To prove the
trend of health inequalities in the US, several scholars have published articles documenting the
existence of racial and socioeconomic disparities in the US. This could have a direct impact on
the mortality rates. Individuals from poor socioeconomic backgrounds and facing racial
discrimination may experience high mortality rates compared to the opposite group. As revealed
from the article by Krieger, a decline in the death rates was noted after the introduction of the
Medicare and Medicaid services by the US government (Krieger, 2008).

Even after the introduction of the Medicare and Medicaid system by the US government,
health inequalities remain apparent. At one time, a mid-50s male African-American male, who
was diabetic and entitled to Medicaid services explained that the insurance cover did not cover
his medical expenses well. He explained that he always ran out of his glucose level testing kits,
but he could not be given more kits to keep checking his level of blood sugar. His life was thus
in danger since he could not afford to purchase the kits. He could not be given more kits because
his cover could not allow that. This case proves that access to inadequate health care services
remains, and proves the inefficiency of the Medicaid services among the disadvantaged social
class individuals.


Krieger, N. (2008). The science and epidemiology of racism and health in the United States: An
ecosocial perspective. Webcast from the 29th Annual Minority Health Conference,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.