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Catching up with…Health Equity: July 2021

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North American Summer is a strange time. We expect things to slow down. We expect fewer meetings because people will be on vacation. Because of that, I wrongly expected that research publications would also slow to a trickle. This was a completely wrong-headed belief. The last 31 days of research saw 391 articles across 177 journals on the topic of health equity.

Trends and Topics.

Let’s not bury the lede. The graph below lists all the topics by their distinguishing keywords (the Y-axis), sorted by the number of articles within that topic.

I then plotted correlations between the topics. These numbers aren’t bad; I filtered out all relationships with a correlation less than 0.2.

Topic Summaries

At the button below, you can download a .pdf with summaries of each topic. I also identified the article that was most representative of each topic. So, if you can only read 25 articles this month on health equity, this should give you a good lay of the land. Or, if you’re like me and can get to less than one article a week, maybe focus on the topics that are most prevalent? Or, if you’re even more like me, you just find what’s interesting to you! That can be a lot of fun, too.

I also like to focus on review articles, when possible, so I pulled all of these and put their information in a separate document (.pdf below.)

Some descriptive data

In the picture gallery below, you can find a word clouds and a network plot of the most frequently occurring words and word phrases across these 391 articles.

One more thing

I’ve gotten more interested in the relationships between words. In the sciences writ large, we have a major problem communicating our core ideas. This is especially problematic in the social and applied biomedical sciences where we want results to be used.

This preamble is to say: I trained a list of word vectors to see how key terms were related within the abstracts. I think it’s cool (and hopeful?) to see key words like racial and system, and policy and intervention closely related in this set of abstracts.


I slightly adjusted the search methodology this month. I first pulled all the articles from the International Journal for Equity in Health, The Journal of Equity in Health, Health Equity, Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, Cancer Health Disparities, and Diversity and Equality in Health and Care. I then pulled everything that contained the phrase “health equi*”. The * in that search term helps to pick up related words.

To really get into the weeds, you can check out this paper we just had in The Journal of Community Psychology.

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