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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (LW MORELAND, SECTION EDITOR)
  • Published:
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Abstract

Racial and ethnic health disparities are a national health issue. They are well described in other chronic diseases, but in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), research into their causes, outcomes, and elimination is in its early stages. Health disparities occur in a complex milieu, with system-level, provider-level, and individual-level factors playing roles. Dissecting the overlapping aspects of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic variables, and how their individual components combine to explain the magnitude of disparities in RA can be challenging. Recent research has focused on the extent to which treatment preferences, adherence, trust in physicians, patient–physician communication, health literacy, and depression have contributed to observed disparities in RA. Practicing evidence-based medicine, improving patient–physician communication skills, reducing language and literacy barriers, improving adherence to therapies, raising awareness of racial/ethnic disparities, and recognizing comorbidities such as depression are steps clinicians may take to help eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in RA.

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Acknowledgment

The authors would like to thank Dr. C. Kent Kwoh, MD for providing excellent comments in his review of an earlier draft of our manuscript.

Disclosure

Dr. Vina is the recipient of the American College of Rheumatology/Research and Education Foundation Scientist Development Award, which partially supports his salary and research. Dr. McBurney reported no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.

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McBurney, C.A., Vina, E.R. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Curr Rheumatol Rep 14, 463–471 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11926-012-0276-0

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