Prepare a 3 to a 4-page review of the literature pertinent to a selected problem for healthcare research and to use that review to propose a methodology to address the problem.

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Assignment Question

For this assignment, you will prepare a 3 to a 4-page review of the literature pertinent to a selected problem for healthcare research and to use that review to propose a methodology to address the problem.

Conduct a search of literature relevant to the problem/topic.

Identify a minimum of 4 references, most of which are peer-reviewed articles. Only one opinion articles may be included. Read the peer-reviewed articles with the focus of preparing a document that will compare and contrast the information in the articles you found. Copies of the articles used must be submitted with the final paper. The reader of your literature review should be able to clearly identify the gaps in the knowledge in the problem area as well as the purpose of the study you are proposing.



Healthcare disparities represent a significant concern within the healthcare system, as they result in unequal access to quality healthcare services among various demographic groups. This literature review aims to investigate the current state of knowledge regarding healthcare disparities among underserved populations and to propose a methodology for future research in this critical area.

Literature Review:

Definition and Prevalence of Healthcare Disparities

Healthcare disparities, as defined by the Institute of Medicine (2002), encompass differences in healthcare access, utilization, quality, and outcomes that persist across racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic lines. These disparities represent a significant challenge to the U.S. healthcare system, as highlighted by Smedley et al. (2017). Despite ongoing efforts to address these issues, underserved populations remain particularly susceptible to these disparities.

Factors Contributing to Healthcare Disparities

A multitude of factors contribute to the persistence of healthcare disparities. Socioeconomic status, as emphasized by Moy et al. (2018), plays a pivotal role. Individuals with lower socioeconomic status often face barriers to accessing healthcare, leading to disparities in health outcomes. Insurance coverage is another critical factor. Individuals lacking adequate insurance coverage may delay or forgo necessary medical care, exacerbating disparities (Moy et al., 2018).

Cultural competence, as highlighted by Betancourt et al. (2018), is integral to the discussion. When healthcare providers lack cultural competence, they may inadvertently perpetuate mistrust and lead to suboptimal healthcare utilization among minority populations. Geographic location also plays a significant role, with rural areas often facing limited healthcare resources and access challenges (Moy et al., 2018).

Impact of Healthcare Disparities

The consequences of healthcare disparities are profound, extending beyond individual health outcomes to the healthcare system as a whole. Underserved populations experience elevated rates of preventable diseases, leading to longer hospital stays and increased mortality rates (Saha et al., 2019). These disparities have substantial economic implications, contributing to the ballooning healthcare costs and compromising the overall quality of healthcare delivery on a national scale (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2020).

Interventions to Reduce Healthcare Disparities

Addressing healthcare disparities requires multifaceted interventions. One viable approach is the enhancement of access to care, exemplified by Medicaid expansion and the establishment of community health centers (Artiga et al., 2018). These initiatives aim to bridge the gap in healthcare access for underserved populations.

Furthermore, cultural competency training for healthcare providers, as explored by Estrada and Park (2021), has shown promise. Such training equips healthcare professionals with the skills to navigate the diverse cultural backgrounds of their patients, fostering trust and improved care delivery. However, the effectiveness of these interventions in diverse healthcare settings necessitates further research (Artiga et al., 2018).

Methodology Proposal:

Building upon the insights gleaned from the literature review, the proposed methodology aims to comprehensively address healthcare disparities among underserved populations through a rigorous research study. The study will encompass the following steps:

Data Collection:

Data collection will be conducted across a spectrum of healthcare facilities, encompassing both urban and rural settings. This comprehensive approach ensures the capture of a wide range of healthcare disparities. Data will encompass demographic information, socioeconomic status, insurance coverage, and health outcomes.

Data Analysis:

The study will employ advanced statistical analysis techniques to discern and quantify disparities in healthcare access, utilization, and outcomes. A central focus will be the examination of the impact of social determinants of health and the level of cultural competence exhibited by healthcare providers on these disparities.

Intervention Development:

Drawing upon the findings, the research will culminate in the development of targeted interventions aimed at reducing healthcare disparities. These interventions may encompass policy recommendations to address systemic issues, the design of culturally competent training programs for healthcare providers, and strategies to improve access to care for underserved populations.

Implementation and Evaluation:

The proposed interventions will be implemented within select healthcare settings, and their effectiveness will be systematically evaluated over a specified time frame. Continuous monitoring and assessment of outcomes will enable refinement and enhancement of the interventions to further ameliorate healthcare disparities among underserved populations.


Healthcare disparities among underserved populations continue to be a pressing issue in healthcare. This literature review has highlighted the key factors contributing to disparities, their impact, and potential interventions. The proposed methodology lays the groundwork for future research aimed at reducing healthcare disparities and improving healthcare access for all.


Artiga, S., Hinton, E., & Rudowitz, R. (2018). Health Coverage by Race and Ethnicity: Changes under the ACA. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Betancourt, J. R., Green, A. R., Carrillo, J. E., & Ananeh-Firempong, O. (2018). Defining cultural competence: A practical framework for addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care. Public Health Reports, 118(4), 293-302.

Braveman, P., Egerter, S., & Williams, D. R. (2017). The social determinants of health: Coming of age. Annual Review of Public Health, 32, 381-398.

Estrada, D., & Park, H. (2021). Cultural Competence Training in Healthcare: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 1-12.

Institute of Medicine. (2002). Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. National Academies Press.

Moy, E., García, M. C., Bastian, B., Rossen, L. M., Ingram, D. D., & Faul, M. (2018). Leading Causes of Death in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Areas— United States, 1999–2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 66(1), 1-8.

Saha, S., Korthuis, P. T., Cohn, J. A., Sharp, V. L., Moore, R. D., & Beach, M. C. (2019). Primary Care Provider Cultural Competence and Racial Disparities in HIV Care and Outcomes. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 34(8), 1405-1411.

Smedley, B. D., Stith, A. Y., & Nelson, A. R. (2017). Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. National Academies Press.

FAQs on Addressing Healthcare Disparities: A Literature Review and Methodology Proposal

Q1: What is the main focus of the literature review and methodology proposal in this essay? A1: The main focus of this essay is to review the existing literature on healthcare disparities among underserved populations and propose a methodology to address this problem.

Q2: How many references should be included in the literature review, and what types of sources are recommended? A2: The literature review should include a minimum of four references, with most being peer-reviewed articles. One opinion article may also be included for reference.

Q3: What is the significance of identifying gaps in the knowledge in the problem area within the literature review? A3: Identifying gaps in the literature helps highlight areas where more research is needed. This can guide future studies and interventions to address healthcare disparities effectively.

Q4: What are some key factors contributing to healthcare disparities mentioned in the literature review? A4: Factors contributing to healthcare disparities include socioeconomic status, insurance coverage, cultural competence, and geographic location, among others.

Q5: How do healthcare disparities impact both individuals and the healthcare system, as mentioned in the literature review? A5: Healthcare disparities result in unequal access to quality healthcare services, leading to higher rates of preventable diseases, longer hospital stays, increased mortality rates, and increased healthcare costs on a national scale.

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