Racial disparities in asthma related to social and environmental factors

Published online: January 9, 2019

National asthma surveillance data highlight disturbing trends in asthma disparities, with a disproportionately higher prevalence of current asthma and substantially greater asthma morbidity in self-reported Black versus White patients.

In a research article recently published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Fitzpatrick and colleagues in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP) assessed differences in healthcare utilization between self-reported Black and White patients with asthma. The study included 579 participants 6 years and older, each observed for one year. Data were analyzed according to a conceptual framework after application of statistical propensity scoring methods to balance the patient groups for other factors associated with healthcare usage.

Self-reported Black patients with asthma were more than twice as likely to visit the emergency department (ED) for asthma over one year. However, when the statistics were weighted and balanced based on community and family socioeconomic factors and environmental exposures, the racial differences evened out. After statistical weighting, self-reported Black patients with asthma were 43 percent less likely to see a physician or healthcare provider in an outpatient setting for asthma care.

These results highlight the complex nature of asthma disparities and highlight the need for social and environmental policies and interventions to reduce asthma disparities in self-reported Black populations. Further examination of healthcare access, mistrust with the medical system, differences in the lived asthma experience including symptom perception are also needed.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

18-00398, Racial disparities in asthma-related healthcare utilization in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Severe Asthma Research Program

Racial disparities in asthma related to social and environmental factors

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