Adolescent Health Disparities: Historical Context and Current Realities

  • Camille A. Robinson
  • Maria TrentEmail author


Health disparities among racial and ethnic minority adolescents are compounded by both historical and current inequities and will have greater implications in health care as demographics shift toward increasing diversity of the adolescent population. The United States provides an example of the complex relationship between health status and history. Specifically, racism has been woven into the fabric of American society since its development, but the connection to health status through historical observation is rarely addressed in the literature. While there have been significant advances in the United States over time, undoing the legacy of displacement, enslavement, and the disenfranchisement of populations experiencing the greatest disparities will require aggressive and bold changes in policy. These affected populations are usually racial and ethnic minorities. This perspective aids in the understanding of why health disparities are persistent and pervasive. This chapter will examine those historical injustices and contextualize them to facilitate a better understanding of the contemporary factors impacting adolescent health status in both the clinical and community setting.


Demographics US history Historical injustices Current events Displacement Segregation Racism Adolescent Health disparities 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent MedicineThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent MedicineJohns Hopkins MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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