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Reducing Health Disparities Through Quality Improvement

Diverse team of medical doctors and patient in hospital: Black, white team
Helping to embed health equity into Medicare and Medicaid services
  • Client
    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Office of Minority Health
  • Dates
    2014 - Present


Despite best intentions, disparities persist in many health care programs.

The federal government is the nation’s largest health insurer, providing coverage through its Medicare, Medicaid, and Marketplace programs to more than 110 million Americans. Enrollees in these programs include groups at increased risk for adverse health outcomes because of various social factors. The mission of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Office of Minority Health (OMH) is to advocate for policies and programs that eliminate health care disparities and improve the health of minoritized populations.


NORC is using data to identify health care disparities among populations.

Since 2014, NORC at the University of Chicago has supported CMS OMH to ensure equitable access to federal health insurance programs and high-quality health care for all Americans. We do that by analyzing data—from existing government records to our own original research—for anomalies. These anomalies indicate differences in rates of service use by population groups and those groups’ health outcomes. We also work with CMS OMH to:  

  • Strengthen partnerships with stakeholders and communities
  • Review the equity implications of policy and regulatory changes
  • Create educational materials for health care providers
  • Provide technical assistance to embed equity into health care programs


The nation’s largest health insurer is now better equipped to address health disparities.

Our extensive behind-the-scenes work gives policymakers evidence, insights, and guidance to move closer to CMS’s goal of eliminating health care disparities. Our work will help ensure that racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender minorities, people with disabilities, and rural populations served by CMS have equitable access to high-quality health care.

Project Leads


Explore NORC Health Projects

Adapting and Implementing a Toolkit to Identify Pneumonia in Patients

Adapting and implementing patient safety practices in ambulatory care


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy & Health Disparities Among Rural Farmworkers

Using Migrant and Seasonal Head Start infrastructure to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and document health disparities


W. K. Kellogg Foundation