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Meet our Researchers
Get to know UC Merced's muliti-disciplinary researchers addressing health disparities
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Opportunities for Students
Find out more about health disparities research opportunities for students
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Professor Jennifer Hahn Holbrook examines differing breastfeeding rates among American women 

Health Disparities Research at UC Merced

As defined by the CDC, health disparities are preventable differences in the burdens of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities. UC Merced researchers across disciplines are addressing health disparities and developing innovative solutions.

There are also opportunties for both undergraduate and graduate students to receive further training in this area of research. 

About Our Region

How are health disparities relevant in the San Joaquin Valley? 

While the 11 counties that comprise the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and surrounding foothill communities make up the fastest growing region in the state where agriculture, oil and land development generate significant wealth, they also exhibit its highest levels of income disparities and rank poorly on an index of health factors reflecting health/risk behaviors, access to care and physical environment.  

This region reports prevalence rates higher than the national average for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, overweight/obesity, current smoking and psychological distress.  

Across the SJV, differences in disease prevalence and limited or better health disparities in some conditions demonstrate the need to examine both the risks and resilience of individuals, families and communities.  

Our region's racial, ethnic and socio-economic diversity provides an opportunity to examine rural health and health disparities as well as disparities within rural communities. 


Featured News

June 23, 2024
Ana Padilla, the executive director of UC Merced’s Labor and Community Center, said that the BOI’s understaffing and lack of an investigator in the Central Valley represents a “kind of disregard” for...
June 23, 2024
When times are tough and mothers are stressed in pregnancy, it’s in the mother’s adaptive best interest for her daughter to socially mature at a quicker pace, said Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook, one of the...
June 16, 2024
“I think there’s also a lot of misconceptions about fairness,” said Charlie Eaton, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Merced. “A lot of people have trouble putting...
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