It's up to all of us to prevent health disparities.

Addressing Health Disparities in Our Community

Black Americans in the Pittsburgh area and across our country experience disparities when it comes to their health, including chronic conditions, access to care, preventive screenings, and mental health.

Health disparities are preventable and UPMC is committed to driving health education and programming, partnering with our community, and training health care providers to ensure that all individuals and families have the opportunity to live healthier lifestyles.

The first step to preventing health disparities starts with identifying and understanding them. Health disparities can result among Black patients from multiple factors including but not limited to:

  • Individual and behavioral factors
  • Inadequate access to health care
  • Educational inequalities
  • Environmental threats
  • Poverty

On the Forefront of Health Disparities

Dr. Chaves-Gnecco

Diego Chaves Gnecco, MD, MPH

Dr. Chaves-Gnecco is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He is the founder of Salud Para Niños (Health for the Children), which provides primary care for underserved community members.

Read Dr. Chaves-Gnecco's Interview
Dr. Jonassaint

Naudia N. Jonassaint, MD, MHS

Dr. Jonassaint is the vice chair of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the UPMC's Department of Medicine and is devoted to addressing health disparities in liver transplant outcomes.

Read Dr. Jonassaint's Interview
Dr. Livingston

Sharee Livingston, DO

Dr. Livingston is the chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UPMC Lititz, and is dedicated to addressing maternal mortality and providing doula care for pregnant women of color.

Read Dr. Livingston's Interview
Dr. Cephas

Representative Morgan Cephas, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Rep. Cephas is dedicated on improving maternal mortality rates and access to health care in her district and throughout the Commonwealth.

Read Rep. Cephas' Interview
Dr. Bledsoe

Demond E. Bledsoe, PhD, LPC

Dr. Bledsoe is a senior program director at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, serving inpatient behavioral health units and select outpatient facilities across the state, and helping minority populations seek care.

Read Dr. Bledsoe's Interview
Tracey Conti, MD

Tracey Conti, MD

Dr. Conti is a UPMC family physician dedicated to addressing health care disparities, including care delivery in underserved communities, medical education, and women’s health issues.

Read Dr. Conti's Interview
Representative Austin A. Davis, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Representative Austin A. Davis, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Rep. Davis is a strong advocate for addressing and fighting health disparities in his district and throughout the region.

Read Rep. Davis' Interview
Utibe Essien, MD, MPH

Utibe Essien, MD, MPH

Dr. Essein is a physician researcher. His work focuses on racial/ethnic health disparities in cardiovascular disease care and social determinants of health.

Read Dr. Essien's Interview
Steven Evans, MD, FACS

Steven Evans, MD, FACS

Dr. Evans is a general surgeon and surgical oncologist with UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. He is an advocate for the elimination of cancer disparities among Black women.

Read Dr. Evans' Interview
Hyagriv Simhan, MD, MSCR

Hyagriv Simhan, MD, MSCR

Dr. Simhan, a physician at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, is a leader in promoting increased safety and health care quality for pregnant women.

Read Dr. Simhan's Interview

Learn More From UPMC HealthBeat


  • Health Disparities: preventable and disproportionate health conditions and inequalities that exist among all ages in a certain population.
  • Health Literacy: the degree to which an individual can obtain, process, and understand basic health information, so that they can make the best health care decisions.
  • Social Determinants of Health: factors like biology and genetics, individual behavior, social environment, physical environment, and health services, that contribute to an individual’s overall health outcome.
  • Media Literacy: the ability to access, analyze, and evaluate media in a variety of forms. Media literacy is important when it comes to health care because it impacts how individuals make health care decisions based from the information that is presented around them.
  • Unconscious Bias: social stereotypes people unintentionally form about groups of people that can affect how they perceive and interact with them.

Cancer Disparities in Our Community

About one in three Black Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and studies show that Black men and women have the highest rate of death from cancer than any racial or ethnic group in the United States.

Learn more about these disparities and what UPMC is doing to address them.