Addressing Health Disparities through Neuroscience: Cultural Neuroscience

September 24, 2014, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Office of Health Equity (OHE), Office of the Director (OD), NICHD; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institute of Mental Health; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Neuroscience Center, Room C, 6001 Executive Blvd, Rockville, MD 20852


The goal of the Addressing Health Disparities through Neuroscience series is to increase awareness of health disparities issues as they relate to neuroscience through a collegial discussion between two renowned scientists.

Cultural neuroscience is an emerging interdisciplinary field that focuses on the influence of personally held opinions, attitudes, beliefs, mores, and laws on brain, mind, and behavior. Specifically, it is the study of understanding human variation in a social context across timescales, through neuroscience. The goal of the burgeoning field of cultural neuroscience is to empirically determine the extent to which measurable variations in human behavior are traceable to cultural influence on biological functioning and human interactions—from genes to neurons, cells to circuits, systems to neighborhoods and beyond. In essence: How does culture influence the neurobiology of behavior and, conversely, how do our neurobiological mechanisms enable the development and transmission of cultural traits?

The United States is a culturally diverse country with levels of health disparities across various populations; for example, racial and ethnic minority groups, low-income groups, women, children younger than 18, older adults (age 65 and older), rural residents, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, and individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life care (2012 National Healthcare Disparities Report, AHRQ). As an ever-shifting social environment influences the physical, economic, and cultural demands on the nation, neuroscience-related health disparities increasingly impact all of the aforementioned groups at alarming rates. This seminar will provide further insight into cultural neuroscience, discuss interdisciplinary approaches to adopting cultural neuroscience research methods to reduce health disparities, and discuss empirically based advances in cultural neuroscience for further investigation.

Speakers for this seminar include:

  • Georg NorthoffExternal Web Site Policy, M.D., Ph.D., FRCPC, Research Unit Director, Mind, Brain Imaging and Neuroethics, Canada Research Chair, The ELJB-CIHR Michael Smith Chair in Neurosciences and Mental Health, University of Ottawa
  • Denise C. ParkExternal Web Site Policy, Ph.D., Distinguished University Chair in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas Regents’ Research Scholar, University of Texas at Dallas


Dr. Della Brown White, OHE, OD, NICHD
Tel: (301) 435-2712

Please note: Views expressed during NICHD-sponsored events do not necessarily reflect the opinions or the official positions of NICHD, NIH, or HHS.
top of pageBACK TO TOP