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Health Disparities – Introductory Unit

How do various factors (social, environmental, etc.) influence larger social trends such as health disparities?

The T-SCORE Health Disparities Unit Plan has six modules:

  • Introduction: Health and Healthcare Disparities in the U.S.:
  • Station I. Socioeconomic Status: Wealth Equals Health
  • Station II. Gender and Sexual Orientation
  • Station III. Geography: How Place Affects Your Health
  • Station IV. Culture and Literacy
  • Station V. Access to Care

Main Objectives

  • Discover and analyze health disparities related to SES, gender, geography, culture, and access
  • Describe the social and environmental factors that contribute to different health outcomes in different communities
  • Understand how health disparities impact your community

Unit Lesson Plan

Introduction: "Health and Healthcare Disparities in the U.S."

This lesson will serve as the unit’s front-loading section, introducing students to concepts of health inequalities and how to best contrast the various counties in Kansas. Students will then take this knowledge any apply it to the various other lessons throughout the unit, discussing inequalities as they relate to gender, socials class, geographical location, and immigrant status.

Guiding Questions:

  • What makes a person healthy?
  • What is health inequality?
  • What factors contribute to different health outcomes?
  • What do the health outcomes look like in Kansas?
Introduction Resources

Lesson 1: "Socioeconomic Status: Wealth Equals Health"

This lesson gives the students the language to be able to discuss trends related to topics of equality. Using this language, students will then be able to analyze and discuss the various socio-economic factors that impact personal and community health, pulling in examples from their community.

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the difference between equity and equality in health?
  • How does socioeconomic status affect health?
  • How can I recognize socio-economic barriers to health in my community?
Lesson 1 Resources

Lesson 2: "Gender and Sexual Orientation"

This lesson provides students with the terms and knowledge to discuss how the social factors of gender and sexual orientation influence health outcomes. Using this knowledge, students will be able to discuss how members of the LGBTQ have challenges that might differ from those not within the LGBTQ social category.

Guiding Questions:

  • How does gender and sexual orientation influence health outcomes?
  • What unique factors do members of the LGBTQ community face in healthcare?
  • How does my culture influence my perception of gender?
  • How is health shaped by individual and societal perceptions of masculinity and femininity?
  • What role does gender play in the social determinants of health?
Lesson 2 Resources

Lesson 3: "Geography: How Place Affect Your Health"

This lesson provides students with the knowledge about how the geographic location that they live in can impact their well-being. Using this knowledge, students will be able to identify how geography and race intersect when discussing topics around health disparities.

Guiding Questions:

  • Why does place matter to your health?
  • How does the appearance of the build environment impact well-being?
  • How does the social nature of a community contribute to health outcomes?
  • How is opportunity distributed across neighborhoods?
  • How do geography and race intersect?
Lesson 3 Resources

Lesson 4: "Culture and Literacy"

This lesson provides students with the knowledge of how culture can impact health in positive and negative ways, and the role it plays in our perception of health. The students will then use this knowledge to discuss the ways in which practitioners can best provide culturally and linguistically competent care.

Guiding Questions:

  • How can culture impact health, both positively and negatively?
  • How does my culture play a role in the way I view health?
  • How are health outcomes of immigrants different from health outcomes of other communities?
  • In what ways can practitioners provide culturally and linguistically competent care?
Lesson 4 Resources

Lesson 5: "Access to Care"

This lesson will provide students with the knowledge of how the health insurance system works and how certain groups of individuals may lack social capital to attain health care. With this knowledge, students will analyze their community and observe any trends of healthcare reform.

Guiding Questions:

  • How does your insurance status impact your health?
  • What unique health obstacles do undocumented immigrants face?
  • What access to health care is available in my community?
  • Why is healthcare reform important to increasing access to care?
Lesson 5 Resources


University of Kansas Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160