New Lupus Foundation of America Research Identifies Barriers to Health Equity for Minorities with Lupus | Lupus Foundation of America

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LFA’s Lupus AIM Program Extends Health Equity Work to Further Uncover Underlying Causes of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Lupus

A leading advocate for health equity in lupus care, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is committed to advancing research to gain a better understanding of interventions necessary to mitigate the impacts of negative social determinants of health in lupus. Research conducted by the LFA through its Lupus AIM (Addressing health Inequities in Minorities) program, and published in ACR Open Rheumatology entitled, “Disparities in Lupus and the Role of Social Determinants of Health: Current State of Knowledge and Directions for Future Research” affirms a complex interplay between race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, education, access to healthcare and other social factors in lupus care and outcomes.

The study identified:

  • Lupus disproportionately impacts Black/African American, Hispanic, and Native American/Alaska Native populations.
  • These groups are at a higher risk of developing lupus and experiencing poorer health outcomes compared to other populations.
  • Poorer health outcomes include more severe disease, increased disease activity, kidney involvement and/or progression to end stage renal failure, increased mortality and higher comorbidities.

Overall, knowledge of factors contributing to disease prevalence and severity amongst American Indian/Alaska Native lupus populations is missing from the literature.

The study highlights numerous social factors that could potentially underpin the racial and ethnic health disparities observed in people with lupus in the United States, including:

  • Considerable disparities in healthcare affordability, accessibility and acceptability exist in the U.S., varying by US region, insurance status and race and ethnicity.
  • Residence in poorer neighborhoods correlates with increased damage and damage accrual, reduced care and stress-induced lupus flares.
  • Preliminary interventions targeting social support, depression and shared-decision-making have been proposed, but more research, intervention implementation and evaluation are needed.

“Negative social determinants of health are well-documented as contributing to racial and ethnic disparities in lupus, a disease in which members of a racial or ethnic minority group are more adversely affected,” said Joy Buie, PhD, MSCR, RN, Director of Research, Lupus Foundation of America and Corresponding Author. “This research provides an overview of the structural, social and individual determinants that impact lupus health outcomes and highlights interventions to diminish disparities and improve outcomes.”

The LFA has numerous educational and support programs that address inequities in care and treatment. The Lupus AIM program seeks to uncover and address the underlying causes of racial and ethnic disparities in lupus outcomes with a specific focus on the role of social determinants of health. The initiative employs a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together experts in lupus research, public health, social sciences, and community to explore and address racial and ethnic lupus health disparities and develop solutions for those in communities with the greatest needs.

“By identifying these social determinants of health, we can develop targeted interventions and strategies to improve lupus care and outcomes within historically marginalized and underserved communities so the people who experience the greatest burden of disease can lead a high quality, productive life while living with lupus,” said Buie.

The LFA is committed to addressing lupus disparities, including through access to healthcare and education, as well as social and community support. For more information on LFA’s ongoing health disparity initiatives, visit

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