If we are all created equally, then why I am treated differently: Contextualizing social determinants in understanding (and explaining) health outcomes, disparities, and equity among older African Americans


When: Thursday, May 6, 2021 (3:00pm-4:30pm EST) via Zoom

Speaker: Dr. Tamara Baker, PhD – Professor, Department of Psychiatry at UNC-Chapel Hill


Symptoms associated with many chronic illnesses can impact an individual’s physical and psychological health, social existence, and emotional well-being. However, factors associated with the experience and management of these health outcomes, particularly among older African Americans are poorly understood, as they are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age, and with more severe and debilitating medical illnesses. This presentation will continue the discussion in how we can and should address the influence social and cultural determinants have in explaining health outcomes across the life course of African Americans, while recognizing the influence each has in research, clinical, and community-based settings. Further discussion will focus on addressing how and why health disparities, inequalities, inequities continue to plague our most vulnerable and marginalized populations. The session will conclude with suggestions for creating a platform that emphasizes institutional and social change, while addressing the needs of older African Americans in the US.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define causal pathways, linking environmental, sociocultural, behavioral and biological factors to health care, management, and health outcomes
  2. Explore determinants of health and intersectionality models to address disparities in health care
  3. Understand the influence of -‘isms’ (i.e. racism, ageism) in contributing to disparities and health outcomes among African Americans
  4. Discuss implementation strategies and identify the levels and domains of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities’ Research Framework

Using the NIA Health Disparities Framework to Optimize Equity in Aging Research


When: Friday, May 21, 2021 (1:00pm-2:30pm EST) via Zoom

Speaker: Dr. Patricia Jones, DrPH, MPH, MS – Director, Office of Special Populations (OSP), National Institute on Aging (NIA)


Dr. Tyson Brown, PhD – Director, Center on Health & Society (CHS); Associate Professor in Sociology, Duke University

Dr. Kimberly Johnson, MD – Director, REACH Equity; Professor in Medicine, Duke University


1:00-1:45 Introduction to the NIA Health Disparities Framework and its use in aging research

1:45-2:05 Case study presentations

A patient-centered approach to address racial/ethnic disparities in pathways to dementia diagnosisDr. Hanzhang Xu, PhD, RN

Leveraging personal meaning for increasing physical mobility in older adults with osteoarthritis pain – Dr. Jennifer Plumb-Vilardaga, PhD

2:05-2:15 Reflects from Dr. Jones and panelists

2:15-2:30 Q&A