Surgical Disparities Research (R01) & Exploratory/Developmental Surgical Disparities Research (R21)
The NIMHD surgical disparities initiative was launched to support research programs that focused on understanding and addressing disparities in surgical care and outcomes. The program invites robust investigative and collaborative research that tests hypotheses originating from the use of evidence-based methods, as well as novel studies that break new ground or extend previous discoveries toward new directions. While the goal is to better understand and explore the effectiveness of potential intervention approaches for addressing surgical disparities, this initiative will also seek to identify strategies at the institutional and systems levels.
Health disparities are the differences in health status and outcomes that are observed across different racial and ethnic groups and among underserved rural, persons of less privileged socioeconomic status, and other underserved populations. Although there have been breakthroughs in methods, technologies, and instrumentation in the field of surgery, not all patients have benefited from these advances. There are disparities in access, availability, and affordability of surgery and in surgical outcomes, such as premature death, recovery and hospitalization time, and overall quality of life. For example, research shows that African American patients in the United States have higher mortality rates after surgery than White patients do.
While differences in surgical outcomes associated with race and ethnicity have been well-documented, less is known about other patient characteristics, such as health literacy, language proficiency, rurality and numeracy. Research that looks at factors at the patient, clinician, and healthcare system levels is needed. Studies on surgical disparities will help identify multi-level interventions and strategies for implementing them to ensure equitable access to safe, high-quality surgical care with optimal outcomes.