Feds solicit research to eliminate disparities in surgical access

Research proposals to unlock why racial and ethnic minorities, as well as low-income patients, have consistently poorer surgical outcomes, could be eligible for grant funding from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The amount of funding will depend on the number of worthy grant applications, the agency said in an announcement.

NIMHD and other National Institutes of Health organizations will collaborate with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) on the surgical care and outcomes initiative. The research should focus on patient characteristics, clinician characteristics, healthcare system and access, clinical care and quality, and post-operative care and rehabilitation, NIMHD officials said.

Broad research priority areas identified by experts during a two-day meeting last year include:

  1. How much "culturally dexterous, competent care" reduces disparities
  2. How well technology-enabled community outreach improves surgical disparities
  3. The impact of regionalizing care versus strengthening safety-net hospitals serving larger minority populations
  4. The long-term effect of acute interventions and rehabilitation support
  5. Patient expectations for postoperative and post-injury recovery

The experts meeting last year also recommended that future research and funding "prioritize patients' care perspectives, workforce diversification and training, and systematic evaluation of health technologies to reduce surgical disparities," according to a summary of the meeting published in JAMA Surgery.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- here's the meeting summary