The Pain Inequities Project
This important initiative is investigating the disparities that Black women experience when they seek diagnosis and management of chronic pain, and based on these findings, will begin to identify strategies to address these important issues. In the first phase of our work, MHQP conducted open-ended interviews with adult patients who have experienced chronic (> 6 months) pain and clinicians who treat patients with pain-related diagnoses to understand their perspectives and experiences with receiving and delivering pain care. Their input is helping us identify important concepts and themes, which will inform a deep dive into the literature to refine our understanding. We will then convene an Advisory Committee to review the evidence gathered, validate our initial findings, and identify directions for MHQP to work towards eradicating inequities in pain-related health outcomes and experiences.
MHQP is working with Onyekachi Otugo, MD, MPH, a researcher and Clinical Fellow in Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Otugo’s role includes research development and advisory committee formation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to the devastating inequities embedded in America’s healthcare system and highlighted the need to address the biases underlying deeply rooted and systemic health disparities in our country. One area where these biases are quite apparent is pain management. Research has shown that Black Americans are systematically undertreated for pain relative to white Americans. This is notably true for Black women, a group which has historically experienced sub-par care across a wide range of indicators.