The measurement of racism in health inequities research

Melody Goodman Speaker
New York University
Sunday, Aug 6: 5:05 PM - 5:25 PM
Topic-Contributed Paper Session 
Metro Toronto Convention Centre 
There is limited knowledge on the best measures and methods to examine the impact of racism (institutionalized, personally mediated, and internalized) on health inequities. In this review, we conduct a descriptive examination of the measurement of racism in the health inequities epidemiological literature. We examine the study design, methods used for analysis, types of measures used (e.g., composite, absolute, relative), number of measures used, phase of research (detect, understand, solutions), viewpoint (oppressor, oppressed) and components of structural racism measures (historical context, geographical context, multi-faceted nature). We discuss potential methods (e.g., Peters-Belson, Latent Class Analysis, Difference in Differences) that have demonstrated potential for future work. The articles reviewed were limited to the detect (25%) and understand (75%) phases. Although the majority (56%) of studies had cross-sectional designs, many authors point to the need for longitudinal and multi-level data for further exploration. We examined study design features as independent elements but racism is a multifaceted system and these categories are not mutually exclusive or exhaustive.