Racial disparities in mortality over time reflect divergent pathways to the current large racial disparities in health. The residential concentration of African Americans is high and distinctive, and the related inequities in neighborhood environments, socioeconomic circumstances, and medical care are important factors in initiating and maintaining racial disparities in health. Efforts are needed to identify and maximize health-enhancing resources that may reduce some of the negative effects of psychosocial factors on health. Health and health disparities are embedded in larger historical, geographic, sociocultural, economic, and political contexts. Changes in a broad range of public policies are likely to be central to effectively addressing racial disparities
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