Research In Action
Research In Action
Concussions are a public health problem in children and can lead to a range of deficits that impact daily activities [1, 2]. Without healthcare access and targeted treatment, recovery can become prolonged, and the injury can have debilitating effects on everyday life.
As a Project Manager for the Minds Matter Concussion Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), I have been involved in research projects that allow us to learn from every child that seeks care in our program. We are investigating and standardizing clinical assessment tools, advancing evaluation for targeted treatments and therapies, and applying evidence-based findings into clinical practice. As work in this field progresses, we want to ensure that all children benefit.
Over the years, I have studied and worked in public health and have become moved to focus my research in studying health disparities. It is sobering to be faced with the reality that some populations may experience a higher burden of disease or poorer health outcomes due to social, political, and economic structures that are often out of their control, and of which can cause health issues that are often preventable.
In my role with the Minds Matter Concussion Program, I am fortunate to work with a passionate and multdisciplinary team keen to develop a deliberate focus on health equity. In recent years, studies have found socio-demographic disparities with pediatric concussions, which pose challenges for ensuring all children receive equitable and necessary care. Thus, we have been seeking out opportunities to help us further investigate and address disparities in concussion care.
Investigating Disparities in Pediatric Concussion Care
Recently, we received a grant through CHOP’s Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness and PolicyLab Pilot Grant Program to investigate disparities in pediatric concussion care. Through this study, we aim to:
- Describe disparities in adherence to concussion follow-up care and access to specialty care services
- Explore barriers that impact adherence to concussion care recommendations through interviews with patients and their caregivers
This study lays the foundation for a larger body of work that will address both health equity and clinical effectiveness in concussion care. While the Minds Matter program is advancing active treatment for concussion management, providers still need evidence-based approaches that account for barriers to adherence to care recommendations in order to improve outcomes.
With this research, we will better be able to identify which populations are at risk for not adhering to care recommendations and identify the various determinants that may contribute to these obstacles. We are then positioned to develop and test interventions and strategies to improve care adherence. These approaches may take the form of focused patient communication, intake surveys, and customized treatment plans, all unique approaches to active concussion treatment.
The Minds Matter team is excited to have this opportunity to expand our work that we hope can guide future efforts to address pediatric health disparities and improve health outcomes in concussion care for all children.
- Bryan MA, Rowhani-Rahbar A, Comstock RD, Rivara F. Sports-and Recreation-Related Concussions in US youth. Pediatrics. 2016;138(1). doi:10.1542/peds.2015-4635
- McCrory P, Meeuwisse W, Dvořák J, et al. Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport—the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport Held in Berlin, October 2016. Br J Sports Med. 2017;51(11):838-847. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-097699