News Release

How Has History Shaped Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities?  

KFF’s new interactive timeline explores how history has shaped racial and ethnic health disparities and the lasting effects that persist to this day. The timeline describes major U.S. federal policies and events since the early 1800s that are linked to present-day health disparities. It also covers policies that impact health coverage and access to care, medicine, and social and economic policies that influence health as well as efforts to tackle inequalities.

The timeline includes 80 entries categorized as “Health & Medicine” or “Broader Policies.” Users can navigate through historical periods to see the expansive selections of historical events. Clicking on an entry reveals a description of the relevant event, an archival image referencing the event, and the ability to explore the entries in more detail via original source material.

While not exhaustive, the timeline provides context for the challenge of addressing current health and healthcare disparities, acknowledging the complex history that shapes them.

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.