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Awareness about Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities High Among Students… So What’s Next?

Elizabeth Zyzo

When I first started my summer fellowship, I had little awareness about racial and ethnic health disparities; and as part of my summer fellowship project, I wanted to see if this was true among my peers (i.e., students).

As part of my research project, I created a survey to understand levels of awareness of racial and ethnic health disparities among CT residents. The survey also sought to expose where and how these individuals were learning about the issue and what factors came into play.

The results from this study provided two interesting results. The first is that a high percentage of both adults and students were familiar with the term of racial and ethnic health disparities (88%, 83% respectively). Adults (ages 25 and over) learned about this term from a variety of sources. Many learned it from school, work, television news, the newspaper or a friend or colleague. While students learned about this term from a class in high school or college, or through personal stories of close acquaintances.

When asked why this issue is not well recognized among the public, the majority of respondents answered that it was too complicated to talk about. A complete poster of the survey’s results can be found here.

Through this program, I learned that racial and ethnic health disparities affect people of color, the poor, and the underprivileged. Raising the level of awareness of this issue is challenging because it will require more than just those who are impacted by this issue to take action.

Elizabeth Zyzo is a HJCT program intern and Junior at the University of Connecticut.

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