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Social Determinants of Health & Health Disparities: About

About This Guide

This guide will help you navigate your way through social determinant and health disparities research. You will find journals, books, websites, and databases pertaining to health disparities in a wide range of groups. This guide was originally created by Ariana Haze, a practicum student at Dominican University, pursuing her Masters in Library and Information Science. The guide was updated by Ariah Long, a MLIS student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 2022.


Social determinants of health (SDoH) are environmental factors (where an individual lives, learns, works, and plays) that impact one's quality of life and long-term health). These create various health disparities which are defined by Healthy People 2020 as "a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with economic, social, or environmental disadvantage."

Health disparities refer to differences between groups of people. These differences can affect how frequently a disease affects a group, how many people get sick, or how often the disease causes death.

Many different populations are affected by disparities. These include but are not limited to:

  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • Residents of rural areas
  • Women, children, the elderly
  • Persons with disabilities

Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute

Explore UIC Indigo's Glossary on Engagement and Health Equity

Social Determinants of Health

CDC social determinants of health circle that highlights access to education, health care, neighborhood, social community, and economic stability

Source: Healthy People 2030, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Retrieved [date graphic was accessed], from

TED Talk on Health Disparities