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Addressing Racial Disparities in Access to Healthcare: A Case Study of Mississippi, United States

This research proposal tackles the central problem of the vast disparity in the access to medical services of the minor racial groups in Mississippi, USA. Although significant progress has been made in medical technology and healthcare policies, many racial minorities living in Mississippi still face numerous tough challenges in terms of accessing quality healthcare services (Funchess et al. 304). Indeed, this discrepancy exposes an impossible socioeconomic challenge that continues inequality and impairs public well-being. This proposal aims to focus on the determining factors of this health inequality, their implications on the affected individuals and communities in the State of Mississippi, and propose strategies to bring equality in healthcare and improve general health outcomes.


Racial disparities in healthcare access remain one of the deep-rooted issues in Mississippi, which intensifies existing inequalities and further fuels the cycle of systemic injustice. The state’s history of racial segregation and present socioeconomic challenges that persist have created an uneven healthcare landscape. The state of Mississippi consistently ranks among those with the highest numbers of uninsured individuals, with racial minorities significantly affected. The African American and Hispanic communities are likely to face the most problems in obtaining critical services ranging from preventive screenings to specialized care (Stribling). Due to these challenges, the spatial differentials between rural and remote areas face difficulty accessing health facilities and services. The scarcity of healthcare providers in the ignored regions worsens the challenge of racial minorities in getting prompt and quality healthcare. Moreover, cultural and linguistic differences interfere with successful patient-healthcare providers’ communication, which often results in incorrect diagnoses, misapprehensions, and inappropriate treatment (Funchess et al. 307). The highlighted systemic problems draw the urgent call for targeted interventions to address the fundamental causes of the healthcare disparities, eventually promoting equitable access to healthcare for all Mississippi residents.

The healthcare inequalities of facilities, to some extent, contribute to the sufferings of the minority race of Mississippi. Most predominantly Black neighborhoods and rural areas lack necessary healthcare infrastructure; thus, the residents have limited access to primary care physicians, specialists as well as medical facilities. Furthermore, healthcare system racisms lead to diversity in care and outcomes. Studies have reported implicit bias among healthcare providers, resulting in differential treatment and worsening health inequality (Funchess et al. 309). These biases present in different forms, including disparities in pain management, diagnostic testing, and treatment recommendations, which in turn lead to worse health outcomes for racial minority patients. Additionally, the poor cultural competency of care worsens the exclusion of minority communities, thereby limiting their access to suitable and effective healthcare. Addressing such systemic problems implies not only building healthcare facilities in underserved places but also designing training and education programs that foster cultural competence and discrimination fighting within the workforce of health professionals.

Besides the logistic issues, socioeconomic factors also determine Mississippi’s healthcare access. Persistent poverty, limited education opportunities, and income inequality severely impact racial minorities, thus significantly affecting their healthcare receipt and utilization of complex healthcare services. Moreover, there are past injustices that linger and include but are not limited to the slavery legacy, Jim Crow laws, and discriminatory policies affecting healthcare access for communities of color. The intergenerational outcomes of these inequalities have resulted in persistent socioeconomic differences, making health disparities prevail. In addition, the systemic racism that occurs within healthcare institutions makes these disparities worse, as racial minorities are more likely to suffer from the barriers of medical mistrust, discrimination, and inferior medical care (Yearby et al. 189). Such entrenched disparities necessitate a multidimensional kind of approach that recognizes race, economic status, and historical trauma as coexisting issues. It requires policy changes to knock down the healthcare access structural barriers and the steps geared at increasing cultural humility, diversification, and inclusiveness of the healthcare workforce.

Research Questions

To explore the complexities of racial disparities in healthcare access in Mississippi, the following questions will guide the research: Who are the primary players involved in maintaining or eliminating racial inequalities in Mississippi’s healthcare access, and what are their various contributions in addressing the issue? What are the systemic determinants persisting the racial disparities in access to healthcare in Mississippi, and how do they interplay with socioeconomic status, geography, and healthcare infrastructure? What went wrong with previous attempts to solve the problem of the racial disparities in healthcare access in Mississippi, and what obstacles are there that prevent the implementation of long-lasting solutions that will ensure equitable healthcare access to all residents? These questions seek to uncover the leading players, discover the sources of healthcare disparities, and agonize over the obstacles that hinder progress toward achieving health equity in Mississippi. In this way, the study will offer extensive insights into the intricacies of this problem and guide the creation of employment-based interventions to eliminate racial disparities in access to healthcare services.

Review of the Research

Some significant conclusions have been found in the literature examining Mississippi healthcare access inequity by race. The patterns of studies show that minorities face many barriers to receiving high-quality healthcare, for example, preventive screenings, specialized medical care, and psychological/mental health services. The causes of racial disparity include the unbalanced distribution of healthcare facilities, medical biases, socioeconomic barriers, and the legacy of injustice (Stribling). Though some efforts have been taken to eliminate these disparities, knowledge gaps exist, mostly related to the intersection of race, socioeconomic status, and geographical location in accessing healthcare. More studies need to be done to seek effective interventions and policies addressing equitable access to healthcare for the people of Mississippi notwithstanding their race or ethnicity.

Works Cited

Funchess, Tanya, et al. “Racial Disparities in Reproductive Healthcare among Parous and Nulliparous Women in Mississippi.” Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities 8 (2021): 304-314.

Stribling, Will. “Mississippi among Worst in Racial Health Disparities, New Report Finds.” Mississippi Today, 26 Nov. 2021,

Yearby, Ruqaiijah, Brietta Clark, and José F. Figueroa. “Structural Racism in Historical and Modern US Health Care Policy: Study examines structural racism in historical and modern US health care policy.” Health Affairs 41.2 (2022): 187-194.


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