Racial disparities and community health

“The driving force behind racial inequality in health,” said David R. Williams, Ph.D., “is the economic circumstances of social groups.” Williams, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan and former Yale faculty member, was a keynote speaker in May at a conference titled “The Impact of Poverty on Individual and Community Health,” sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry’s Division for Prevention and Community Research. “Economic status is accounting for most of the racial difference in health, but not all of it,” Williams said. “Poor white men still live longer than poor black men. The racial differences in economic status are not an act of God, but reflect the implementation of racial policies in society that have predictable outcomes.”