Health Disparities Interest Group

Health disparities are health differences in one or more health outcomes that adversely affect disadvantaged populations. These health outcomes include overall rate of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, and survival. Disadvantaged populations refer to racial/ethnic minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, and sexual and gender minorities. Eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity is one of the overarching goals of Healthy People 2030.

The Health Disparities Interest Group (HDIG), founded in 2014, aims to advance biological, clinical, behavioral, social, and population sciences research to further understanding of health disparities and illuminate interventions to reduce and eliminate health disparities. The HDIG:

  • Fosters the exchange of ideas between intramural and extramural health disparities researchers through its joint seminars with the NIMHD Division of Intramural Research.
  • Provides a platform for health disparities scientific dialogue through its mailing list. To subscribe, please visit the HDIG Listserv homepage and click “Subscribe or Unsubscribe” in the right sidebar.
  • Engages with NIH partners to promote health disparities training for trainees.

HDIG/NIMHD DIR Seminar Series

With NIMHD DIR, the HDIG invites nationally renowned speakers to present foundational as well as cutting-edge research related to health disparities. These seminars occur four times a year.

Upcoming Seminar

Tuesday, October 12, 2021
10:30–11:30 a.m. ET

The Role for Feasible and Sustainable Interventions in Reducing Health Disparities

Margarita Alegría , Ph.D.
Chief, Disparities Research Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry Harvard Medical School

Virtual NIH Videocast

Margarita Alegría, Ph.D., has spent most of her career working on how to reduce health disparities for populations of color, immigrants, and linguistic minorities. Her research focuses on the improvement of health care services delivery for diverse racial and ethnic populations, conceptual and methodological issues with multicultural populations, and ways to bring the community’s perspective into the design and implementation of health services.

Dr. Alegría is currently the principal investigator of four NIH-funded research studies and has published more than 300 papers, editorials, intervention training manuals, and several book chapters. Prior to her work at Harvard, she was the director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research at Cambridge Health Alliance and was previously the director of the Center for Evaluation and Sociomedical Research at the University of Puerto Rico.

Dr. Alegría was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine in acknowledgement of her scientific contributions to her field and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. She obtained her B.A. in psychology from Georgetown University and her Ph.D. from Temple University.

For lecture questions, please email Dr. Kelvin Choi.

Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate should contact Edgar Dews (phone: 301-402-1366) or the Federal Relay at 1-800-877-8339 at least five business days before the event.

Past Seminars

Gilbert Gee, Ph.D.

Gilbert Gee, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences
Fielding School of Public Health
University of California, Los Angeles

Structural Racism: The Roots & Relations of Inequality

Virtual seminar conducted July 13, 2021

View seminar

Gilbert C. Gee, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. He received his bachelor degree in neuroscience from Oberlin College, his doctorate in Health Policy and Management from the Johns Hopkins University, and post-doctoral training in sociology from Indiana University. His research focuses on the social determinants of health inequities of racial, ethnic and immigrant minority populations using a multi-level and life course perspective. A primary line of his research focuses on understanding how racism affects health across multiple levels and across the life course. He has been recognized with distinctions such as a group Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health, Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Delta Omega Award for Innovative Public Health Curriculum, and the Paul Cornely Award from the Health Activist Dinner. Dr. Gee has served on several panels for the National Academy of Sciences and was also the former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Sherman A. James, Ph.D.

Sherman A. James, Ph.D.
Duke University

To Race with the World: John Henryism and the Health of Black Americans

Virtual seminar conducted February 9, 2021

View seminar

Sherman A. James, Ph.D., has held professorships in sociology, community and family medicine, and African and African American studies at Duke University. Prior to Duke, he taught in the epidemiology departments at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (1973-89) and at the University of Michigan (1989-03). At Michigan, he was the John P. Kirscht Collegiate Professor of Public Health; the founding director of the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health; chair of the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education; and a senior research scientist in the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research. James was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2000.

He is a fellow of the American Epidemiological Society, the American College of Epidemiology, the American Heart Association, and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. In 2016, he was inducted into the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences as the Mahatma Gandhi Fellow. In 2007-08, he served as president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER). James received his Ph.D. (psychology) from Washington University in St. Louis (1973).


Page updated October 8, 2021