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Health Services Research & Development

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Spotlight: Health Equity and Health Disparity Research

January 2013


Sometimes, ethnicity, social, physical, or mental health status can become barriers to receiving health care.

To ensure that every Veteran has barrier-free access to the same, high-quality, evidence-based care he or she may need, achieving health equity and eliminating health disparities are priorities for VA. To support these efforts, VA’s Health Services Research & Development Service (VA HSR&D) investigators conduct a variety of studies designed to identify, explain and eliminate disparities, and improve healthcare equity among Veterans. In particular, HSR&D's Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion focuses specifically on promoting equity and quality in health and healthcare among Veterans and other populations.

HSR&D Study Results Support Improvements in Care

Health equity and disparity research in VA addresses concerns specific to the general Veteran population, as well as unique groups (such as Veterans living in rural settings, women and minorities) or those who have served in specific deployments (such as to Iraq, Afghanistan, or Viet Nam). While focused research is critical in supporting improved care within VA, many VA HSR&D studies also provide data that can be translated to improvements outside the VA system. Examples of this research include:

In addition to these completed studies, VA HSR&D's Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion is currently conducting the following investigations into health equity and disparities:

  • A 5-year, orthopedics-based research project looking at variations in access and utilization of joint replacement in the management of end-stage osteoarthritis.
  • A study that looks at how to reduce overuse of multiple high blood pressure medications among older Veterans.
  • A 4-year study to examine if the presence of psychiatric concerns in Veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan complicates the family reintegration process.

To learn more about health equity and health disparities research, use the links in the resources box to the right.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.