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2022: The Year in Health Equity

Cedars-Sinai Investigators Analyze Data From Multiple Sources to Uncover and Remove Barriers to Health

Maintaining good health is a challenge for many, but it can be especially difficult for people facing social barriers like discrimination and lack of resources.   

Robert W. Haile, DrPH, MPHThose social barriers often manifest themselves in health disparities, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says are preventable differences in health outcomes experienced by people from socially disadvantaged groups. 

Cedars-Sinai investigators are committed to uncovering disparities through a wide range of research, from molecular and genetic to behavioral, as well as research-driven community outreach and engagement.

“By including diverse populations in clinical trials and examining patient data that is representative of the U.S. population, we can begin to unravel what health disparities exist and work to address societal barriers to good health,” said Robert W. Haile, DrPH, MPH, director of the Cancer Research Center for Health Equity at Cedars-Sinai and the Cedars-Sinai Chair in Population Health Sciences. 

Throughout 2022, Cedars-Sinai researchers combed through depersonalized health data from multiple sources and found: 

Racial Disparities in Minimally Invasive Surgery for Fibroids 

Black and Hispanic patients were significantly less likely than white patients to undergo minimally invasive surgery for uterine fibroids. The bias was observed even when controlling for insurance type and the size of the fibroids.

Cardiac Rehab Facilities Too Far for Many Residents of Los Angeles County, Study Reports  

Racial and ethnic minorities in Los Angeles County are more likely to live as far as or farther than five miles from a cardiac rehabilitation facility. The disparity is greatest for Black people: They are almost three times more likely than white people to live at least five miles from a facility.

Racism, Stress and Stroke Outcomes 

One measure of the lifetime impact of stressors such as racism could help explain disproportionately poor stroke outcomes in Black patients, who are at historically greater risk of stroke, and of death from stroke, than other racial groups.

Hispanic and Black Patients Less Likely to Receive Curative Treatment for Early-Stage Liver Cancer 

Hispanic patients are 57% less likely and Black patients are 47% less likely than white patients to receive treatments known to cure a type of liver cancer called intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. These treatments include surgery, liver transplantation or local ablation (a method that uses thermal damage to destroy cancer cells).

Cedars-Sinai Study Highlights Cancer Disparities in L.A. County 

People in Los Angeles County experience differences in cancer risk and survival depending on a variety of factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, geographic location and socioeconomic status. The investigators, who identified 15 cancer disparities in L.A. County, are in the process of designing and carrying out interventions to address them.

Black, Hispanic Patients Less Likely to Get Lifesaving Liver Cancer Treatment 

Racial and ethnic minorities diagnosed with advanced liver cancer have a lower chance of receiving immunotherapy. Black and Hispanic patients were significantly less likely to receive immunotherapy compared with white patients, even though the investigators found immunotherapy to be more effective than the traditional treatment of chemotherapy for advanced-stage liver cancer in a wider patient population.

Read more health equity news here.