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Poster Highlights the Importance of Education to Empower People of Color With Atopic Dermatitis

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Article

Research at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting discusses the impact of an educational program on improving care.

Confidence/Adobestock

Confidence/Adobestock

Education can empower patients and result in better care for patients of color, according to a new poster presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting.

Previous research has indicated that clinicians feel unprepared to care for people of color (POC) with atopic dermatitis and that these patients are likely to face barriers to obtaining specialty care. Hypothesizing that an educational program might empower patients, Carole Drexel, PhD; Eve Wilson, PhD; Jonathan Silverberg, MD; and Sanaz Eftekhari partnered with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to produce a series of education videos discussing AD, its comorbidities, and treatment options. To market the educational series to POC, the investigators partnered with BlackDoctor.org.

The study included 1846 patients who viewed the program, 67% of which had been referred by BlackDoctor.org. The program also had almost 30k views on Facebook. About one-third (29%) of responders identified themselves as Black or African American; 40% were White non-Hispanic. The majority of respondents (64%) were from a suburban community; 20% were from urban communities and16% from rural areas.

Following the educational series, patients and caregivers were invited to provide feedback. The investigators had 56 participants (60% POC) complete a survey and 8 (7of whom were POC) were interviewed.

Overall, 67% of participants had moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, but 10% of respondents were unsure of their illness severity. Although 68% of respondents saw a dermatologist for treatment, 69% of those with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis had not previously discussed injectables with their health care provider. Topical steroids were most often (68%) used to manage their illness; 45% used topical nonsteroid options. Oral steroids (16%), other oral medications (16%), and injections (14%) were also used. Comorbidities were very common among these patients, with allergies (71%) and asthma (52%) the most common.

Although 60% of patients said they do as much research as they could to be informed about treatment decisions, only 20% said they express their opinions to their heath care provider and expect to be listened. Similarly, 20% said they do whatever their clinician says because they see their health care professionals as the expert.

After the educational intervention, 64% of the patients who were not receiving care for their comorbidities intended to seek care for those comorbidities, and 61% planned on asking to be seen by a specialist within the next 2 months. Furthermore, 15% intended to request changes to their current treatment strategy.

Wilson, who presented the poster, shared some remarkable comments they collected during the interviews that point to the impact of the educational series. For instance, one respondent said, “I have learned that AD and asthma go together. I want medication that attacks the root of the problem. And I will have my daughter evaluated for other conditions.” Another commented “I like the new information about the biologics. I've been noticing they are being given to people with asthma. Oh, wow, you mean to tell me now there’s some for someone like me; that would be great if there was a medication that would help me with two issues!”

“Overall, our data suggests education helps empower people of color to seek care for AD and its comorbidities,” Wilson said. “However, they reveal communication gaps between POC and AD care providers.”

Reference

1. Drexel C, Wilson E, Silverberg J, Eftekhari S. Empowering People of Color (POC) with Moderate to Severe Atopic Dermatitis to Advocate for Multidisciplinary Care. Poster presented at American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting. November 9-13, 2023; Anaheim, CA.

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