At the turn of the 21st century, several important reports and events designed to raise awareness of health disparities and to describe initial efforts to reduce health disparities took place. The Surgeon General's office released several reports that showed dramatic disparities in tobacco use and access to mental health services by race and ethnicity. The first real legislation focused on reducing health disparities was signed into law, creating the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities within the NIH. In 2001, the IOM released its landmark report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, highlighting the importance of a focus on health care quality rather than a focus on only access and cost issues.
Building upon these reports and events, the IOM held a workshop on April 8, 2010, that discussed progress to address health disparities and focused on the success of various federal initiatives to reduce health disparities. How Far Have We Come in Reducing Health Disparities? summarizes the workshop and explains the progress in the field since 2000.