Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

Biological Sciences BS


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Julie A. Reid, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Women and Gender Studies


This thesis takes a sociological approach to examine healthcare workers' beliefs and medical organizations’ solidarity statements related to diversity and equity and how these discourses aligned and/or diverged. Through interviews with healthcare providers in Mississippi and content analysis of solidarity statements, the study finds that discussions on health disparities more frequently addressed socioeconomic inequality rather than systemic racism, diverging from organizational statements. This emphasis may partly stem from the demographics of the study participants, who were predominantly White—which also reflected the staff where they worked. Additionally, while healthcare workers recognized structural issues related to health disparities, they often showed hesitancy or uncertainty in addressing the complex intersectional "web" of health inequities. Nevertheless, within the cultural landscape of the South that was the context of this study, traditional or socially conservative ideas co-existed with more progressive social attitudes, often within the same individual.