Lupus Research Institute Helping Get the Word out
The Lupus Research Institute was pleased to attend the presentation at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting by Dr. Sam Lim, Emory University introducing the Lupus Initiative, a new federal program to educate healthcare professionals about racial disparities in lupus care.
Persisting Racial Disparities Documented by New Data
New findings from the National Lupus Patient Registry also presented at ACR demonstrate disproportionate prevalence of lupus among American Indian and Alaska Native populations that is even greater than previously estimated. These results come on the heels of two newly published papers showing similar disparities among young African American women compared with Caucasians. One of these analyses was led by Dr. Lim in Georgia.
“The Lupus Initiative addresses an important link in the events that compound the health disparities that we continue to see in those suffering with lupus,” says Dr. Lim. “Students, physicians, and health care providers not directly involved in rheumatology practice are or will be the ones most often on the front lines of diagnosing and managing lupus. In our work with the CDC-funded lupus registry, we continue to see the often long and complex course patients must take through the health care system to get appropriate treatment. Improving the education of those health care providers at each of those steps is an opportunity to improve overall lupus care and narrow the gap in health care disparities.”
Alleviating the Disparities
Having confronted racial disparities among minority lupus patients over years of on-the-ground grassroots work in disadvantaged neighborhoods, the LRI and our National Coalition of patient organizations advocated for and secured $4.6 million in congressional funding for the Lupus Initiative.
Dr. Lim added, “Having seen the need to address racial disparities, the Lupus Research Institute and SLE Lupus Foundation helped make the Lupus Initiative possible with their passionate support.”
“In addition to encouraging use of the Lupus Initiative nationwide, the Institute supports direct services in disadvantaged neighborhoods and funds studies on why lupus is more prevalent and severe among minority populations so we can target strategies to better recognize, treat and prevent the disease,” notes Margaret Dowd, LRI President and CEO and Executive Director of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation. “