The Meaning and History of the Health Disparities Pin
By Bakari Garvey, Founder

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH):

“Health disparities are gaps in the quality of health and health care that mirror differences in socioeconomic status, racial and ethnic background, and education level.”

The eradication of health disparities is a global effort among all health professionals. To acknowledge these efforts, I have created the Health Disparities Awareness Ribbon to support and promote all efforts toward health equality for all people. This ribbon is a symbol to remind us of this global imperative.

Meaning of the Colors
The colors that make up the Health Disparities Ribbon are symbolic of the people who suffer and the issues that perpetuate health disparities:

Black represents the struggle and strength of the vulnerable populations who experience the greatest burden of health disparities; black also represents solidarity among all people.

Red represents the purposeful separation of family units and segregation of groups with intention to create barriers to resources essential to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

White represents the systems of institutionalized oppression that have created and maintained health hierarchies; white also represents pure intent in the fight to eradicate health disparities.

Yellow represents the inequalities in educational systems that directly impact physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Green represents the disparities in financial power, which has allowed for the historical disenfranchisement of many and denial of access to preventative resources and healthcare intervention.


I would like to thank Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science for providing me the opportunity to engage in dialogue and comradeship with numerous exceptional individuals who fostered my ideas into a reality. Thank you all for your help and knowledge; the diversity of the group of people who were inspirational to the conception of the ribbon reflects the collaborations of many backgrounds coming together to address the relevant issue of health disparities I am proud of the “Health Disparities Awareness Ribbon”. More importantly, I am proud of what the ribbon represents and hope that you will feel the same when you wear it. The bearer of this ribbon has the power to assist the elimination of health disparities that you will be, too.

Your feedback on the Health Disparities Awareness Pin is greatly appreciated.
To provide feedback please feel free to contact me at the following:

Very Respectfully,

Bakari H. Garvey

Masters of Public Health Student
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
1731 E. 120th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059
910-527-2201 ½


About Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
CDU is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian, minority-serving medical and health sciences institution. Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated more than 550 medical doctors, 2,500 post-graduate physicians, more than 2,000 physician assistants and hundreds of other health professionals. The only dually designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School in the U.S., CDU is recognized as a leader in translational and health inequities research, specifically with respect to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health, and HIV/AIDS. Recently, the CDU/UCLA medical program was named the best performaer in the University of California System with respect to producing outstanding underrepresented minority physicians by the Greenlining Institute. For more information, visit

1731 East 120th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059
p 323 563 4987 f 323 563 5987

A Private University with a Public Mission

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