AASLD’s Diversity Committee is sponsoring an inaugural Diversity Workshop that has been designed to provide a broad overview on racial and ethnic disparities as they pertain to liver disease as well as help define solutions and shape the future direction of the committee’s agenda.
“There are increasingly more data in the medical literature and problems or challenges that we find in clinical practice that really underscore the fact that there are differences when it comes to outcomes of various liver diseases, access to care, and how patients respond to treatments, said Diversity Committee Vice Chair Carla W. Brady, MD, MHS, FAASLD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine. “In terms of the types of patients that we manage in clinical practice, it becomes very important to look at clinical aspects of care and research ideas from a perspective of diverse populations and how things might look different in one sub-population compared to another.”
The Diversity Workshop will take place Monday from 4:15 pm to 6:15 pm in Room 153/155, Moscone North/South. The session co-chairs encourage meeting attendees to attend the event and be part of the discussion.
“The overall goal and intent for this workshop is to provide an overview of disparities that have been fairly well documented, and to understand the basis for and the reason they exist, and to focus on some strategies to eradicate racial and ethnic disparities in health and healthcare,” said Diversity Committee Chair Charles D. Howell, MD, AGAF, FAASLD, Professor, Howard University College of Medicine.
Dr. Howell and Dr. Brady have convened an expert panel of speakers who are noted leaders in these areas to provide a very thorough examination of “Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Liver Diseases.”
“As practicing hepatologists, we see examples of the health disparities on a daily basis and in fact they permeate the practice of hepatology. As a result, I think it’s very important that our members are aware and educated,” said Dr. Howell. “Armed with the proper information, we will be better prepared to address health disparity in liver diseases.”
The agenda includes an opening talk on finding solutions to racial and ethnic disparities in health and healthcare. Dr. Howell noted that Stephen B. Thomas, PhD, Director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity and a leading scholar on racial and ethnic health disparities, will provide a framework for thinking about disparities, as well as a review of the underlying causes and solutions.
Dr. Brady added that the workshop will also provide insight on specific liver diseases, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and viral hepatitis, as well as on liver transplantation. Fasiha Kanwal, MD, MSHS, FAASLD, will provide an overview of ethnic and racial disparities in the incidence, diagnosis and management of HCC, and Kimberly Forde, MD, MHS, will discuss ethnic and racial disparities in liver transplantation.
“There’ll be opportunities to understand more about these areas and what we can do to focus on them from both a clinical perspective as well as a research perspective,” Dr. Brady said.
Dr. Howell noted solutions will require input and participation by the hepatology and gastroenterology communities, both clinicians and researchers.
“Dr. Andrew Muir is going to discuss the US viral hepatitis action plan for the next three years. It’s a complete and comprehensive approach to the problem, and seeks to reduce health disparities,” he said.
As this is the first program organized by the new committee, both Dr. Howell and Dr. Brady said attendee input and interest will help drive future programs and initiatives.