, Volume 35, Issue 1-2, pp 1-8

Racial, Cultural and Ethnic Disparities in Health and Mental Health: Toward Theory and Research at Community Levels

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Abstract

We need to further develop theoretically informed, empirically grounded bodies of knowledge on how community structures, norms, and processes operate in local communities and how they affect human well-being, especially in culturally diverse and ethnic minority communities. Scholars pursuing this agenda will benefit from “population thinking” which focuses attention on human aggregates and on equilibrium processes and social and community mechanisms of change. They will benefit too from considering a promising body of theory and research on social capital. Community level knowledge has profound intervention-related implications at policy levels: such knowledge figured prominently in initiatives associated with 2.5 million residents leaving poverty neighborhoods during the decade 1990–2000. It continues to figure in crucial policy debates and provides a knowledge base on which future federal reports, like 2001s Mental Health: Culture, Race, and EthnicityA Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, can draw.

This article is based on the address delivered as the recipient of the 2004 Division 27 Award for Distinguished Contribution to Theory and Research in Community Psychology