American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

The National Institutes of Health-American College of Surgeons (NIH-ACS) Symposium on Surgical Disparities Research was convened with the goal of setting a national agenda for surgical disparities research. Over the course of two days, more than 60 top-level researchers, surgeon-scientists, and federal leaders reviewed the existing literature and participated in interactive consensus-building exercises. After individual thematic presentations, attendees contributed research priorities for each theme. Suggestions were collated, refined, and prioritized during the latter half of the event.

Surgical Disparities Research Priorities

Surgical Disparities Research Priorities (Click to enlarge.)

The top five priorities identified are:

  1. Improving patient-clinician communication by helping clinicians deliver culturally dexterous, competent care and measuring its effect on the elimination of disparities.
  2. Fostering engagement and community outreach by using technology to optimize patient education, health literacy, and shared decision making in a culturally relevant way; disseminating these technologies; and evaluating their effect on reducing surgical disparities.
  3. Improving care at facilities with a higher proportion of minority surgical and trauma patients. This includes evaluation of regionalization of care versus strengthening of safety-net hospitals within the context of differential access and surgical disparities.
  4. Evaluating the long-term effect of acute interventions and rehabilitation support within the critical period of injury or illness on functional outcomes and patient-defined perceptions of quality of care.
  5. Improving patient centeredness by identifying expectations for postoperative and post-injury recovery. This includes adhering to patient values regarding advanced health care planning and palliative care needs.

In conclusion, the NIH-ACS Symposium on Surgical Disparities Research succeeded in identifying a comprehensive research agenda, but this work is not done. Future research and funding priorities should prioritize patients’ care perspectives, workforce diversification and training, and systematic evaluation of health technologies to reduce surgical disparities.

Findings in JAMA Surgery

On March 16, 2016, JAMA Surgery published “Setting a National Agenda for Surgical Disparities Research: Recommendations from the National Institutes of Health and American College of Surgeons Summit,” which outlined the symposium’s findings.

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National Agenda Webinar

In conjunction with the publication of the findings paper, the Center for Surgery and Public Health hosted a webinar for symposium attendees in order to update them on the findings and brainstorm dissemination ideas.

For those interested in learning more about the launch webinar, the slides and webinar notes are now available.

Help Spread the Word

Join us in the effort to eliminate health care disparities by disseminating the research priorities that we’ve identified. Here are some materials that may help:

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