Reducing racial and ethnic disparities in hypertension prevention and control: What will it take to translate research into practice and policy?

Michael Mueller, Tanjala S. Purnell, George A. Mensah, Lisa A. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION Despite available, effective therapies, racial and ethnic disparities in care and outcomes of hypertension persist. Several interventions have been tested to reduce disparities; however, their translation into practice and policy is hampered by knowledge gaps and limited collaboration among stakeholders. METHODS We characterized factors influencing disparities in blood pressure (BP) control by levels of an ecological model. We then conducted a literature search using PubMed, Scopus, and CINAHL databases to identify interventions targeted toward reducing disparities in BP control, categorized them by the levels of the model at which they were primarily targeted, and summarized the evidence regarding their effectiveness. RESULTS We identified 39 interventions and several state and national policy initiatives targeted toward reducing racial and ethnic disparities in BP control, 5 of which are ongoing. Most had patient populations that were majority African-American. Of completed interventions, 27 demonstrated some improvement in BP control or related process measures, and 7 did not; of the 6 studies examining disparities, 3 reduced, 2 increased, and 1 had no effect on disparities. CONCLUSIONS Several effective interventions exist to improve BP in racial and ethnic minorities; however, evidence that they reduce disparities is limited, and many groups are understudied. To strengthen the evidence and translate it into practice and policy, we recommend rigorous evaluation of pragmatic, sustainable, multilevel interventions; institutional support for training implementation researchers and creating broad partnerships among payers, patients, providers, researchers, policymakers, and community-based organizations; and balance and alignment in the priorities and incentives of each stakeholder group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-716
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2015


  • Blood pressure
  • Disparities
  • Hypertension
  • Interventions
  • Policy
  • Prevention
  • Racial inequities
  • Research translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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