Physicians, Researchers Convene Summit to End Arthritis Disparities

Talib I. Karim | 10/5/2011, 12:49 p.m.

Despite efforts to address arthritis and other health disparities, not everyone attending the summit was a fan of the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Mary O'Connor, the Summit's Co-Chair, who heads the Department of Orthopedics at Florida's Mayo Clinic, took issue with provisions of the Obama health reform law, suggesting that the law creates mandates that are "too complex and onerous." Further "I don't think we need health reform to address the focus of our conference...health disparities in arthritis treatment," Dr. O'Connor said.

Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD.) applauded the Affordable Care Act as a chief instrument towards ending arthritis health disparities. Edwards told summit participants "It's important that you make it clear as you visit your representatives that health care disparities is important and we need to even expand the Affordable' Care Act to incorporate more provisions that directly address health care disparities."

The summit was a success, said to Dr. Ibrahim. "We met our core goal of raising awareness [of musculoskeletal health disparities]," he said.

Over the next year, organizers plan to set the groundwork for another summit and explore proposals for ending musculoskeletal disparities such as securing the National Institutes of Health funding to educate health providers about unconscious bias in their treatment of arthritis and similar conditions.