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Hot Topics: Health Equity and Health Disparity

What's the Issue?

Balance scale weighing large and small red health care symbols is tipped left by bigger symbol.

The goal of health equity is everybody having the same opportunity to improve their health.

A health disparity is a preventable difference between different groups of people in

  • health status
  • pain and suffering
  • rates of disease, disability, injury, and violence
  • lifespan, life expectancy, or mortality
  • access to health care
  • and other measures.

Populations affected by health disparities contend with social, economic, and environmental disadvantages. For some groups of people, health disparities are also a legacy of discrimination, exclusion, and/or policy.

Image credits: Resized "scales" by Kristen Gee, available from Noun Project, licensed under CC BY. Resized & colored "Health Services" symbol by SEGD available from Healthcare Symbols "for use in your projects." Graphics modified by Nancy R. Curtis.

Some Places to Begin



Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) data briefs & analyses include a statewide view of rural health, rural health profiles of each county, and more:


Kaiser Family Foundation materials include:

Other resources:


Visualizing Health Equity: One Size Does Not Fit All Infographic [RWJF]

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