In 2003, NIH clarified the definition of "health disparities" and provided a method for determining research that is appropriate to the definition. The NIH definition is as follows:
Health Disparities Research (HD) includes basic, clinical and social sciences studies that focus on identifying, understanding, preventing, diagnosing, and treating health conditions such as diseases, disorders, and other conditions that are unique to, more serious, or more prevalent in subpopulations in socioeconomically disadvantaged (i.e., low education level, live in poverty) and medically underserved, rural, and urban communities.
Overall health disparities research includes these components:
Minority health research and related activities
Rural health research and related activities
Research and other activities related to the socioeconomically disadvantaged in the urban setting