Researchers at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently launched a new approach to reduce the disparities in surgical care and outcomes among disadvantage populations.
The goal of the research is to improve the scientists’ understanding of, and solutions for, these disparities.
“Disparities in surgical care can result in poorer functional outcomes, prolonged rehabilitation, recovery and lower quality of life, particularly for disadvantaged population groups,” NIMHD Director Eliseo Pérez-Stable said. “Racial and ethnic minority and low-income population groups are oftentimes disproportionately affected by access, availability and affordability to the most advanced health care services.”
This new surgical disparities research program requires partnerships between different NIH centers and institutes, as well as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Health disparities are defined as the various differences in health outcomes and status, typically found with different ethnic and racial populations or socioeconomic statuses. These health disparities can result in greater co-morbidity, more chronic disabling conditions, worse quality of life, longer recovery times from diseases, worse functioning and a higher chance of premature death.
“We need to better understand the integral role of optimal access to safe surgical care and medical management, which has not been well studied in health services or health disparities research,” Pérez-Stable said.