Imagine not following up with your health care provider after a screening test came back positive for cancer because you didn't have insurance and couldn't afford an appointment. Think about what it would be like to be at greater risk of dying during childbirth because of your race.

Those situations, while hypothetical, are examples of health care disparities.

Dr. Chyke Doubeni, a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist and health services researcher, says health care disparities are differences in access, delivery and outcomes of care among groups of people.

He prefers to call the issue health inequality and he says it is avoidable.

"If we did the right kind of care and the right kind of programs, health disparities should not exist," says Doubeni.

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He explains where health inequities exist, shares his biggest worry and offers hope for real solutions.

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