Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-28-2019


Despite the advances and spread of palliative care programs, communities of color remain significantly underserved. Although these disparities are widely known, there is a marked lack of empirical evidence. The authors conducted a systematic scoping review that synthesized the literature since 2000 about racial and ethnic disparities in palliative and end-of-life care. We searched PubMed, Medline, SocIndex, CINAHL, Social Work Abstracts, and PsycINFO, using search terms including palliative care or end-of-life care, disparities or barriers or utilization, and race or ethnicity or African American or Hispanic. Findings lend support to extant literature that social environmental barriers and disparities distinctly affect access to care for these populations. The review expands upon understanding of how social determinants drive disparities in palliative and end-of-life care and suggests implications for practice, policy, and research in promoting health equity in serious illness.


This article was originally published in Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, available at

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