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Keywords

Discrimination in medical care; Health Disparities; Imprisonment; Incarceration; Medical care; Minorities; Prison; Prisoners – Health and hygiene; Race; Ethnicity

Abstract

Alarming disparities in population health and wellness in the United States have led to multi-disciplinary research efforts to create health equity. Identifying disparities, elucidating the etiological bases of disparities, and implementing solutions to eliminate disparities are part of the U.S. national health agenda. Racial and ethnic disparities have been identified throughout the cancer control continuum, in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and a multitude of other conditions. The causes of disparities are complex, condition specific, and conjectured to result from combinations of biological and socio-behavioral factors. Racial and ethnic health disparities within the vast incarcerated communities have been excluded from most studies, yet are of significant ethical and fiscal concern to inmates, governing bodies, and non-incarcerated communities into which inmates return. Importantly, research on racial and ethnic disparities in this unique population may shed light on the relative etiologies of health disparities and solutions for creating health equity throughout the general population in the United States.