First Advisor

Hyeyoung Woo

Term of Graduation

Spring 2022

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Sociology







Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 122 pages)


Different treatment in healthcare settings provided to different social groups of people may lead to disparities in health, quality of life, and life span. Despite the critical role among healthcare services that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provides disproportionately for marginalized communities, it remains unclear if and to what extent treatment disparities take place in the pre-hospital setting. Guided by the theoretical frameworks of social worth, aversive racism, and stigma, this study utilizes medical chart data from three different public and private datasets to investigate treatment disparities by Emergency Medical Service providers for racial minority, obese, and limited English proficiency patients. While controlling for various confounders, three primary findings are revealed: (1) all racial minority patients received a lower quality of EMS treatment; (2) obesity status conferred a treatment advantage for men and a disadvantage for women; and (3) patients who are not fluent in English received a reduced quality of EMS treatment. These findings are largely aligned with the existing theories, signifying the critical role that social characteristics have in influencing the quality of treatment in EMS. Moreover, the findings provide important clinical practice and policy implications. Limitations of the study are acknowledged and future research directions are discussed.


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