The concept of health disparities have moved to the forefront of the nation’s healthcare agenda in the 2T* century due to the overwhelming disproportionate numbers of health care problems noted in African American populations as opposed to their counter parts. Despite the advances that have been made in biotechnology, improvement in medical procedures, and the eradication o f certain infectious diseases, African Americans continue to have poorer health status than other Americans. The literature extensively described several contributing factors for disparities in health such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and geographical location. Many of the differences in health occur because of problems with access to care, which may lead to inefficient and expensive patterns o f care as well as an increase in the likelihood of long standing disparities in health statuses and health outcomes (Moy, Dayton, and Clancy, 2005). Society must look at ways to integrate activities that will reduce health disparities in individuals who are at risk for significant variances in health status. National health policies have begun to look at the roles that health providers play in helping to reduce health disparities, however, for the purpose o f this study, only a limited amount of research places emphasis on the role of the nurse practitioner (NP). A systematic review of the literature using a computer generated search o f CINAHL, MEDLINE, EBSCOHOST, and Cochrane Library. Journal articles were obtained through the Mississippi University for Women library via Internet databases. The literature review incorporated data beyond nursing literature to expand the knowledgebase for a thorough review, thus providing a multi-disciplinary approach. This literature identified many healthcare disparities noted in the African American (AA) population, but only a few explored the role o f the nurse practitioner in helping the AA client to incorporate activities of health promotion in their daily lives, which would help them decrease risk factors associated with many diseases. For the purpose o f this investigation, the role of the nurse practitioner in helping to eliminate health disparities was explored using an evidence based systematic review that incorporated the following step: (a) Preparation. Nurses define the underlying purpose and outcomes of the project, (b). Validation. This involves a utilization focused critique of each source o f evidence, (c). Comparative Evaluation and Decision making. This step involves a synthesis of findings and the application of the following four criteria: fit of setting, feasibility, current practice, and substantiating evidence, (d). Translation/ application. This phase involves activities to determine how the findings will be used, formally or informally, (e). Evaluation. In the final stage the application is evaluated (Polit & Beck, 2004). Nola’s Pender’s Health Promotion Model served as a theoretical foundation for this clinical project and guided the systematic review of the literature. Determining the role of the nurse practitioner in helping to eliminate health disparities must foster continuing investigation so that utilizing the role o f the nurse practitioner in a health promoting role is seen as an important mechanism in reducing health disparities.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Cagle

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Included in

Nursing Commons