Health Disparities in an Era of Rising Income Inequality

Claremont McKenna College welcomed Thomas Fuller-Rowell, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Auburn University, to its campus on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, to discuss the extent of economic inequality changes in our country and the significance of these changes for public health. With a background in biochemistry, psychology, and population health sciences, Dr. Fuller-Rowell investigates differential life circumstances and health disparities. Dr. Fuller-Rowell discussed how the link between childhood disadvantage and later health problems has been increasing. This information is consistent with research showing widening gaps in life expectancy between income groups. He also discussed how unfair treatment between social classes is important to consider in health disparity research. Staying optimistic, Dr. Fuller-Rowell, stated that “it is within our reach to make positive changes in this domain” and that we can and should replicate studies, raise awareness of these issues, and monitor their impact.

In the future, he hopes to expand his research to include international contexts: “As my career evolves, I hope to take my research a little bit more international in scope and actually look at inequality in different contexts.” Given his diverse career across multiple disciplines, Dr. Fuller-Rowell also believes interdisciplinary training is essential for solving complex social problems.

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