Health Disparities and Health Equity

The Behavioral Research Program (BRP) seeks to eliminate cancer disparities through research that addresses the multilevel, biopsychosocial, and behavioral mechanisms that contribute to disparities across the cancer control continuum and throughout the human lifespan.

About Health Disparities and Health Equity

Health disparities (HD) are closely linked with social, environmental, and/or economic disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group, religion, socioeconomic status, age, mental health, cognitive functioning, sensory or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, geographic location (place/context), or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.

While health disparity research delineates the process by which different groups face challenges in achieving the highest level of health possible, health equity (HE) is the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.

Eradicating health disparities and achieving health equity is at the forefront of BRP's mission.

Areas of Research Emphasis

BRP funds innovative health equity research with potential downstream benefits in reducing cancer disparities. Behavioral and social science research related to cancer disparities and health equity may include the following areas of examination: 

  • Behavioral and biopsychosocial studies that engage individuals and segments of the US population that have been underrepresented, underserved, and excluded from research in cancer control 
  • Studies that take a multilevel perspective to communicate cancer risk factors and/or promote healthy lifestyle behaviors 
  • Behavioral and communications research aimed at understanding how to address health misinformation and disseminate evidence-based, culturally tailored cancer information to the public
  • Policy-level research that evaluates the impact of regulations on reducing health disparities

Selected Funding Opportunities Related to Health Equity in Behavioral Research

View All Funding Announcements

BRP Featured Grants Related to Health Equity in Behavioral Research

Project Title

Project Number

PI Name

Organization Name

Improving Uptake of Genetic Cancer Risk Assessment in African American Women
5R21CA236496-02 Vanessa B. Sheppard, Ph.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Ethnicity and Lung Cancer Survival: A Test of the Hispanic Sociocultural Hypothesis
1R01CA262719-01 John M. Ruiz, Ph.D.
University of Arizona
FOOD (Food to Overcome Outcomes Disparities) 5R01CA230446-04 Francesca M. Gany, M.D., M.S. Sloan-Kettering Inst Can Research
NOURISH-T+: a Randomized Control Trial Targeting Parents in Promoting Healthy Eating and Exercise Behaviors in Pediatric Cancer Survivors with Overweight/Obesity 5R01CA240319-03 Marilyn Stern, Ph.D., C.R.C. University of South Florida
Technology Facilitated Behavioral Intervention for Depression Among Diverse Patients in Ambulatory Oncology R37CA255875-02 Betina Yanez, Ph.D. Northwestern University at Chicago
Culturally-Targeted Communication to Promote Sars-Cov-2 Antibody Testing in Saliva: Enabling Evaluation of Inflammatory Pathways in COVID-19 Racial 1E01CA260469-01 Todd Lucas, Ph.D. Michigan State University
Tobacco Retail Policy Innovation to Reduce Health Disparities 5R01CA229238-03 Ruth E. Malone, Ph.D., R.N. University of California, San Francisco
Adoption, Diffusion, and Implementation of Tobacco 21 Policies to Address Health Disparities 5R01CA231139-04 Christine D. Delnevo, Ph.D., M.P.H. Rbhs-School of Public Health
View All Active BRP Grants

Recent Selected BRP Staff Publications in Cancer Disparities




Health Disparities and Health Equity Database of Grantee Publications

View Health Disparities and Health Equity Literature Database

Learn more about health disparities and health equity research at the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences.



Amanda Acevedo, Ph.D.

Amanda Acevedo, Ph.D.

Social and Behavioral Scientist Administrator/ Program Director
Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch
Behavior Research Program
Last Updated
April 20, 2023