The purpose of this thesis was to identify causes of disparities in affliction (infection) and mortality for minority populations (Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indian/Alaskan Natives) during the Swine Flu (H1N1) and COVID-19 (Sars-Cov-2) Pandemics. A literature review was conducted gathering peer-reviewed journal articles related to racial and socioeconomic disparities in affliction and mortality during both pandemics. The model of Blumenshine et al. (2008) was used as a guide for the analysis of this thesis, and measures of exposure, susceptibility, and treatment were hypothesized as causes for the disparities experienced by the minority populations during the two pandemics. Ultimately, it was established that the causes of the disparities noted were found to be differences in social determinants of health experienced by minority populations including poverty, education, occupation, and housing location. Differences in each of these social determinants of health then led to disparities in exposure, susceptibility, and treatment. All of these disparities combined together caused disproportionate affliction and mortality for minority populations during both pandemics. Organizing disparities in terms of social determinants of health and identifying possible explanations for disparities is important for future pandemic planning, and the model of Blumenshine et al. (2008) is a structured way to hypothesize certain causes of disparities during a pandemic based on social determinants of health. Emphasis needs to be placed on developing a pandemic vulnerability index based on the measures hypothesized so that future pandemic planning can direct resources to those most vulnerable.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Asi, Yara M.


King, Christian


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


Health Management and Informatics

Degree Program

Health Services Administration



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date