NNLM Reading Club: Racism and Health

NNLM Reading Club: Racism and Health

Topic: Racism and Health
Left Box

Racism and Health


America’s long, frequently uncomfortable conversation about racism and social justice continues, with both new and familiar voices speaking up. Health is very much a subtopic that needs to be considered in that discourse.

Health depends on social factors, whether they are the condition of one’s neighborhood, the accessibility of good nutrition, or the education necessary to make informed choices about wellness. These things are not impervious to racism. Racism can reduce the length of lives or stop them before they start. It is indeed a public health crisis.

To be committed to equity in health, one must address racism’s impact on it. Bring your book-discussion group into one of the central conversations impacting our nation as the NNLM Reading Club focuses on the topics of Black Maternal Health and Diversity in Medicine. We encourage you to use books selected for these topics to start a conversation or keep an existing one going. All voices are not always heard in such conversations. We urge you to listen, think critically about what you can do to alleviate the effect racism has on health equity, and act for social justice.

Middle Box

Health Equity

The primary NIH organization for research on Health Disparities is the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. NIMHD has recently launched a new section on its website that highlights recent research findings on minority health and health disparities by its grantees. Visit the Research Spotlights section for a quick glance at research that spans diverse topics affecting health disparity populations, such as maternal health and sexual and gender minority (SGM) mental health.

CDC Health Equity Infographic

Right Box


Use MedlinePlus, a free source of trustworthy and evidence-based health information from the National Library of Medicine, to further your understanding and locate resources about Health Disparities.

Race, Racism, and Health is a collection of research and perspectives on the effects of race and racism on health in the United States compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, they have supported research and programs targeting some of America’s most pressing health issues.

Fact Sheet: Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity by Sofia Carratala and Connor Maxwell, Center for American Progress, May 7, 2020

Race, Medicine, and Health in America is a Higher Education Module developed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). It is designed to instruct intersecting narratives of race, environment, and health through the use of selected case studies: including lead poisoning, asthma, the Environmental Injustice Movement, the 1995 Chicago Heat Wave, and Hurricane Katrina. It is divided into six class modules with reading resources and discussion questions.