Social Bases of Health Differentials

This is research devoted to understanding the physical and psychological health of individuals, but differs from clinical research and medical practice in focusing on population health. The PSC brings together social scientists and health services researchers with a strong interest in how the core paradigms of the population sciences can be used to understand the social bases of health differentials, especially health outcomes as functions not just of socially distinguished characteristics, but of the way in which institutions, communities, and societies are organized. Demographic analysis of the compositional aspects of health trends and health differentials is treated elsewhere. Here we focus on research that links social stratification to outcomes via the behavior of individuals and the health care system. This fundamental scientific theme is also important institutionally since it is one of five supra-disciplinary themes endorsed under the SAS Strategic Plan (the others are Genes to Brains to Behavior, Nanoscience, Cross-Cultural Contacts, and Democracy and Constitutionalism) and it is only these supra-disciplinary themes (not departments) that have “first call” in the intra-School competition for resources.