Cedars-Sinai Investigator Honored for Work Identifying Racial Disparities in Gynecological Care
Rebecca Schneyer, MD, has received the Medstar National Center for Advanced Pelvic Surgery Diversity and Inclusion Award given by the Foundation of the AAGL.
Schneyer, a resident in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program at Cedars-Sinai, was honored in December at the annual scientific meeting of the AAGL, the American Association of Gynecological Laparoscopists. The award recognized the study by Schneyer, and her colleagues at Cedars-Sinai, that found Black and Hispanic women were significantly less likely than white patients to undergo minimally invasive surgery for uterine fibroids.
The findings are published in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology.
“Despite the advances in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, Dr. Schneyer’s work identifies inequalities associated with race and nationality that persist. The findings of the study point to the need to effectively promote the value of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery through medical education, mentorship, patient advocacy and community outreach,” said Vadim V. Morozov, MD, vice president of the Foundation of AAGL Board of Directors.
Fibroids, also called myomas, are noncancerous tumors that develop within the muscle tissue of the uterus. The growths can cause pain, excessive bleeding, and anemia. In some cases the growths can impact fertility and pregnancy.
Fibroids are two to three times more common in Black patients, who are likely to have more of them, to suffer more severe symptoms and to require surgery, according to the study authors.
"Uterine fibroids are a common health condition for women, and patients are often helped by a minimally invasive surgical approach to remove them. Compared to traditional open surgery, minimally invasive surgery reduces pain, the length of hospital stays and the risk for complications," said Schneyer, lead author of the study.
"But we found that Black and Hispanic women were not only less likely to have minimally invasive surgery, but they were also less likely to have their surgery performed by a gynecologic surgeon with subspecialty training in these techniques,” said Schneyer.
Black women are significantly more likely than white women to undergo both hysterectomy and myomectomy, the surgical removal of just the fibroids, rather than minimally invasive surgery for the condition.
“Dr. Schneyer’s excellent work honored by the AAGL identifies a critical need in gynecological healthcare. We should be open to examining the existence of implicit bias in referral patterns, improving the way gynecological surgeons counsel women about their treatment options and improving patient education. We want all patients to have equal access to high-quality, evidence-based care,” said Matthew Siedhoff, MD, MSCR, vice chair of Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai.
Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Uterine Fibroids: What Women Should Know