Racial Disparities in Health  
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Racial Disparities in Health

There are continuing serious disparities in health in the United States. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asians continue to suffer from poor health, disease and premature mortality because of ongoing inequalities. This inequality of risk begins with unequal exposures. People of color are more likely to live in areas with higher environmental burdens. Furthermore, people in these communities are more likely to become ill from a given exposure. Unfortunately, because of a lack of access to health care and inequalities in our health system, these people are less likely to receive adequate care. Finally, because of higher vulnerabilities, this population is less likely to positively respond to treatments. This chain of causality affects milions of Americans.



Pastresesrach has cocumented inequalities in exposure associated with racial segregation. Racial residiential segregation is also associated with decreased physical activity for all people, not just the segregated group. This may be associated with "spatial mismatch", people living further from jobs, stores and recreational locales that they would otherwise be closer to.



EH807 Urban Environmental Health

Course Description
Urban Environmental Health: EH 807
A Project-Based and Community-Based Course

H. Patricia Hynes, Professor
Russ Lopez, Assistant

Problems of the emerging urban environment in the late 19th century, which gave rise to the public health and environmental health movements, continue to enervate inner cities of the United States and imperil poor people in rapidly expanding mega-cities of the world. Yet, the idea of environment has historically been split off from health and cities. Environment is generally framed by mainstream environmental groups as wilderness without people and fragmented by environmental protection agencies into physical media including air, water, and soil threatened by pollution. What has been overlooked and lost in these central trends is the historic connection of environmental health to the lived environment: the nexus of buildings, infrastructure, streets, social life, and human services with ambient air, water, soil, and green space--the environment as city people experience it.

This course, Urban Environmental Health, situates its students and faculty in our school's urban environment where poverty, poor services, and pollution are most concentrated. The neighboring communities of Roxbury, North Dorchester, parts of the South End and South Boston have the highest indices in Boston of household poverty, ill health, childhood lead poisoning and asthma, mixed industrial and residential zoning, 21E hazardous waste sites, vacant land, and injury by weapons. Simultaneously, these neighborhoods are increasingly known for their assets--community-based organizations which are rebuilding their often devastated urban neighborhoods with creative initiatives around affordable housing, environmental justice, community health, urban gardening, and local economic development. Public health is an applied field in which scholarship includes not only the discovery of knowledge but also the integration, communication, and application of knowledge. All these dimensions of scholarship are employed and encouraged in this course.

EH807 Syllabus


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