Improving The Measurement Of Structural Racism To Achieve Antiracist Health Policy

Rachel R. Hardeman, Patricia A. Homan, Tongtan Chantarat, Brigette A. Davis, Tyson H. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Antiracist health policy research requires methodological innovation that creates equity-centered and antiracist solutions to health inequities by centering the complexities and insidiousness of structural racism. The development of effective health policy and health equity interventions requires sound empirical characterization of the nature of structural racism and its impact on public health. However, there is a disconnect between the conceptualization and measurement of structural racism in the public health literature. Given that structural racism is a system of interconnected institutions that operates with a set of racialized rules that maintain White supremacy, how can anyone accurately measure its insidiousness? This article highlights methodological approaches that will move the field forward in its ability to validly measure structural racism for the purposes of achieving health equity. We identify three key areas that require scholarly attention to advance antiracist health policy research: historical context, geographical context, and theory-based novel quantitative and qualitative methods that capture the multifaceted and systemic properties of structural racism as well as other systems of oppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project received support from the Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Additional support was provided by the Minnesota Population Center, which is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant No. P2C HD041023). This research also received support from the Centers on the Demography and Economics of Aging Program award to the Center for Population Health and Aging (P30 AG034424) at Duke University by the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging. This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See https://creative

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Project HOPE. All rights reserved.


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