Barriers to Health

The factors that prevent individuals or groups from gaining access to health care and health services. These factors can be environmental, social, cultural, political, or economic.

Behavioral Risk Factors

These are modifiable risk factors are those behaviors that exert a strong influence on health. Examples include: tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical activity and diet, sexual practices and disease screenings.

Community Health Workers

These are frontline public health workers who have a close understanding of the community they serve. This trusting relationship enables them to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. They work in all geographic settings including rural, urban and metropolitan areas.


Comorbidity refers to multiple disorders occurring in the same individual. Comorbid conditions are conditions that often occur together, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Cultural Competency

The ability to understand, communicate with, appreciate and interact with people from cultures or belief systems different from one’s own.


A disease is an abnormal condition that negatively affects the normal structure or function in an individual. Diseases are often known to be medical conditions (caused by infection, injury, development of cancer, etc.) that are associated with symptoms and can cause illness.

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)

FQHCs are community-based healthcare providers that receive funds from the Health Resources and & Services Administration (HRSA) Health Center Program to provide primary care services in underserved areas. They provide care on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay and operate under a governing board that include patients. They may be Community Health Centers, Migrant Health Centers, Health Care for the Homeless and Health Centers for Residents of Public Housing.

Health Disparity

Health disparities are preventable differences in health and health care that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations. These populations can be defined and categorized by factors that include race, ethnicity, gender, education level, income level, disability status, geographic location, or sexual orientation.

Health Insurance Marketplace

A service provided by the federal government in which individuals, families, and businesses can:

Health Literacy

The degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.


An illness is a feeling of sickness or discomfort, affecting the body or mind, that might come with having a disease.

Medical Mistrust

The suspicion or lack of trust in medical organizations. It is often associated with delays in African-American men’s routine health visits, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings.


Any physical or psychological state that is considered to be abnormal, such as illness, impairment, or degradation of health. Morbidity is often used when discussing chronic diseases, which can worsen over time and impact one’s quality of life.


The number of deaths in a certain group of people (often categorized by gender, race, ethnicity, geographic location, etc.) in a certain period of time.

Patient Activation

Refers to patients’ willingness and ability to take independent actions to manage their health and care. Patient activation is thus when a patient understands their role in the care process and has the knowledge, skill and confidence to manage their own health and health care.

Patient Agency (responsibility and compliance)

Patient Navigators

A person who helps guide a patient through the healthcare system. This includes help going through the screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of a medical condition, such as cancer. Patient Navigators help patients communicate with their healthcare providers so they get the information they need to make decisions about their healthcare. They may also help patients set up appointments for doctor visits and medical tests…etc.

Perceived Discrimination

Refers to when people themselves perceive or experience discrimination. This may include events that are not discriminatory by law of scientific definitions while also excluding those that are because they were not experienced as such by the individual. Perceived discrimination can be at the institutional level or the personal level and can exist in both explicit and implicit forms.

Perinatal Health

Refers to issues affecting women before, during and after childbirth. The perinatal period is the time surrounding childbirth, particularly three months before and one year after.

Preventive Medicine

Preventive medicine is a medical specialty that takes a proactive approach to patient care in order to promote good health, prevent disease, and assess health risks.

Preventive Services

Preventive services are the identification, prioritization, and provision of appropriate screenings, counseling, and medication services to prevent illness or the worsening of disease, and reduce healthcare costs.

Prevention Taskforce

An application that assists primary care physicians in identifying the right screening, counseling, and preventive medicine services for their patients. This app is also available to the general public and can be used for individuals to view personalized recommendations about preventive services.

Quality of Life

The degree to which an individual is healthy, comfortable and able to participate in or enjoy life events.


This is the sense that some actions are self-generated. Essentially, it is the idea that an individual can influence new patterns within themself as well as in their environment and that people can be influenced by old, current and expected future patterns within themself at any given time – in real time.


Refers to an individual’s belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance achievements. It reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behavior and social environment.

Social Determinants of Health (SDoH)

The social, economic, and political conditions that influence individual and group outcomes in health and well-being.

Standard of Care

Usual or routine health care. The kind of care that most doctors agree that everyone should receive. Also called: best practice, standard medical care, and standard therapy.

U.S Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF)

The USPSTF is an independent panel of national experts that makes evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services. Their recommendations are made publicly available on the USPSTF website and through their Prevention TaskForce (previously ePSS) app that provides tailored recommendations based on age, sex, and selected behavioral risk factors.


The active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. Wellness is about more than just physical health and includes at least six dimensions including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental health.