A Window into Healthcare Disparities – The Rheumatology Perspective

Program Overview


The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines health disparities as racial or ethnic differences in the quality or quantity of health care that are not due to access-related factors or clinical needs, preferences, and appropriateness of intervention. It is known that some groups in the United States receive less health care and have worse health outcomes than others. Members of racial and ethnic minority groups are especially likely to be underserved. While racial disparities in health care are well documented their mechanisms are incompletely understood. The genetic, cultural, and sociopolitical aspects of race all have the potential to contribute to the production of racial disparities in health and health care.

Racial and ethnic health disparities are both a national and a local health issue. The African American Health Coalition identified a particular bundle of ZIP codes that they believed warranted special attention. First, this area contains a sizable African American population and represents about 63% of all African Americans living in the Finger Lakes region. Second, this area is frequently viewed as the major residence of the city’s minority population because of its relatively high concentration of people of color (68% of Focus Area residents are non-White compared with 14% of residents in the balance of Monroe County).

Increasing evidence of racial and ethnic disparities in the care of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has been accumulating over the last 2 decades, with most published data accumulating in the last 10 years. They stem from a variety of complex factors, including healthcare system policies, hospital practices, and physician–patient relationship dynamics. Important psychosocial factors include patient treatment preferences, adherence, health literacy, and psychological profile. Recent research has focused on these areas and suggests that clinicians should focus on improving equitable care for all patients on the basis of practicing evidence-based treatment guidelines, improving patient–provider communication skills, reducing language and literacy barriers, improving adherence to immunosuppressive therapies, raising patient and provider awareness of racial/ethnic disparities, and recognizing comorbidities such as depression.

The IQ-LUPUS (Improve Quality in Low-income, Underserved, Poor, Underprivileged, SLE patients) project, funded by the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, aims to overcome some of the common problems faced by SLE patients from the minority communities. As part of this initiative we have established a clinic at Anthony Jordan Health Center to provide coordinated care for these patients by hiring a social worker and a dedicated nurse and organize educational seminars for our patients and their families at regular intervals. In addition, we also aim to educate the healthcare providers who cater for patients with SLE. This CME conference is the first of such meetings and will discuss healthcare disparities and how it impacts the care of lupus patients. Our goal is to bring together National and local experts to develop methods to help overcome the problems of healthcare disparities and develop best care models to improve the Quality of care for patients with rheumatic diseases.

Conference Details

  • When

  • Saturday, June 8, 2019
    9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
    Eastern Time Zone

  • Where

  • University of Rochester School of Nursing, Helen Wood Hall Auditorium 1W-304
    265 Crittenden Blvd.
    Rochester, New York 14642

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