1. Dougherty, Molly C. PhD, RN, Editor

Article Content

This issue of Nursing Research represents a unique collaboration between two leading nursing journals-Advances in Nursing Science and Nursing Research-on knowledge development on health disparities. Health disparities are a great concern for our nation. Decreasing or eliminating the disparities that exist in the United States among segments of the population is a major goal in the Federal Healthy People 2010 document (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2000). Healthy People 2010 is intended to stimulate organized action to improve health by a systematic approach to assure that everyone has equal access to high-quality healthcare systems. Health disparities are found in groups identified with gender, race and ethnicity, income and education, disability, rural geographic location, or sexual orientation.


In the call for manuscripts we defined health disparities broadly. Advances in Nursing Science emphasized theoretical, methodologic, ethical, and philosophic issues related to knowledge development. Nursing Research called for research findings that contribute to knowledge about health disparities, including methodology concerns specific to working with marginalized groups, and cross-cultural research.


The articles reflect the escalating development of knowledge in this area and foretell the direction of future research. Some articles mirror themes evident in each issue of Nursing Research. There are contributions addressing health disparities related to race and ethnicity and specific health conditions (Appel et al.; Wang and Chan), and to those marginalized by advanced age (Baker; Porter). Articles on the development of instruments to assess psychosocial dimensions of health and illness are published often in Nursing Research and are among the articles in this issue, too (Doorenbos, Schim, and Benkert; Punthmatharith and Singh). Theory testing is the approach used in an article on health disparities in mammography screening (Steele). In an emerging area of study such as health disparities, often the most valuable contributions are those that require us to examine our place in the wider context of healthcare and society. The article by Giddings challenges us to step aside from the routine of our work lives and to look at the origins of health disparities within ourselves.


In the pages that follow, we invite you to explore the contributions that nursing scholarship is making to better understanding health disparities. The articles in Nursing Research feature delineated research problems, data analysis, and interpretation. Turn to the companion issue of Advances in Nursing Science for scholarship on health disparities through concept analysis, literature review, and research. This collaboration is consistent with the intent of Healthy People 2010 to stimulate organized action to improve health and eliminate health disparities in the United States.


Molly C. Dougherty, Phd, RN






U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 2000. Healthy People 2010 understanding and improving health. Available at: Accessed August 8, 2005. [Context Link]