Racial health disparities first appear at birth and never go away. Black babies have higher infant mortality rates than their white peers; black mothers die in childbirth at three times the rate of white mothers; and black Americans, despite having roughly the same occurrence of cardiovascular disease as white Americans, are thirty percent more likely to die from it.

In order to eliminate racial/ethnic and gender disparities in health, we must investigate the sociocultural, economic, and structural indicators of health in both risk assessment and risk prevention efforts. Cook Center researchers, often through the Center’s Health Equity Working Group, use an interdisciplinary approach to move beyond the acknowledgement of disparities toward a more complete understanding the root causes of both positive and negative health outcomes. From there, they inform practitioners, researchers and community health organizers on strength-based approaches to health.