A Practical Approach to Addressing Racial Differences in Osteoarthritis Treatment

Quality & Equity in Osteoarthritis: Understanding & Improving Treatment Use
Awardee: Ernest R. Vina, MD (Primary Mentor: C. Kent Kwoh, MD)
Funding: NIAMS, NIH K23AR067226

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is a leading cause of pain and disability among the elderly. Racial differences in the outcomes of OA patients exist with African-Americans more likely to experience pain from OA and less likely to be using effective OA treatments than whites. The current project proposes to identify contributors to racial differences in use of various OA therapies and to develop an educational tool to improve understanding and use of these treatments.

Dr. Vina's short-term career goals are to gain the expertise required to study the reasons why race disparities in the use of different types of non-surgical OA treatment exist; and to learn how to develop an intervention and implement a clinical trial to reduce racial disparities in the use of various OA treatments.

The first specific aim is to examine the determinants of, and barriers to, the utilization of various OA treatments that contribute to disparities in the care of African-Americans and whites. The second is to pilot-test the impact of an intervention designed to improve the utilization of effective, non- surgical OA treatments. Surveys of patients with knee or hip OA will be conducted, gathering information on patient demographics, psychosocial characteristics, disease severity, treatment history and health-related knowledge, beliefs and attitudes. The primary outcomes of interest will include utilization of various treatments, including exercises, topical medications, non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs and opioid agents. For the second aim, an existing educational tool will be chosen and enhanced with the goal of improving patient understanding of OA treatments and increasing the use of available OA therapies.

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