Achieving health equity and understanding health disparities involve a critical analysis of historical, political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental conditions that have produced an inequitable health status for vulnerable populations in the United States. Health disparities are an important focus on improving population health and one of healthy people 2020's overarching goal is 'to achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups'. The purpose of this class is to introduce basic issues that underlie health disparities. This course will include an overview of current literature and foster discussions that will examine health disparities, explore social and environmental determinants of those disparities, critically review measurement issues, and determine public health's response to addressing these disparities and achieving health equity. Students should seek to critically reflect on their personal and professional roles in eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity.