Improving the measurement of structural racism to achieve antiracist health policy


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.

Hardeman RR, Homan P, Chantarat TB, Davis B, & Brown T. Improving the measurement of structural racism to achieve antiracist health policy. Health Affairs; 2022, 41(2). doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2021.01489


  • Rachel R Hardeman
  • Patricia A Homan
  • Tongtan (Bert) Chantarat
  • Brigette A Davis
  • Tyson H Brown


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