My Journey to Discover the Reasons for Race Disparities in Health

Thomas LaVeist, PhD | Salon 4

Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health



I learned of disparities while studying for a PhD in political sociology in the 1980s. It was totally by accident. I was shocked that the race differences in health were so great and that there were so few researchers trying to understand why race seemed to determine length of life. Fascinated by what I had learned, I changed my career direction and set about trying to understand why race disparities exist. This presentation will take the audience on my journey—of nearly 30 years in the making—as I share what I learned and what still remains to be uncovered.


Learning objectives:

  • Name causes of health disparities
  • Name widely held myths regarding causes of health disparities



Bridging cultural gaps and eliminating barriers