The Weathering Hypothesis Framework and the US Racial Health Disparities

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Date Developed: 05/01/2012. Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and University of Michigan School of Public Health, Society Scholars Program . Presenter(s): Margaret Hicken, MPH, PhD. Type: Narrated Slide Presentation. Level: Advanced. Length: 21 minutes.


In this presentation, Margaret Hicken provides an introduction to the “weathering” framework for understanding health disparities. According to the weathering framework, health disparities between races result from exposure to social, economic, and political marginalization experienced by Black (compared to White) Americans. Both “context” and “accumulation over time” are discussed as the key elements in this framework. Hicken presents data on birth outcomes as a model for illustrating the weathering framework, and proposes implications of the framework for policy and research.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $180,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.