GHP Fellow and Mentor Receive REACH Equity Center Scholars Award

Dr. Colin Smith, 5th year Medicine-Psychiatry and GHP resident, along with his mentors Dr. Nathan Thielman, Director of the Global Health Pathway for Residents and Fellows, and Dr. Jane Gagliardi, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, are part of the team who were recently awarded the REACH Equity Center’s Research, Education and Training grant. These awards, funded by the Duke Center for REsearch to AdvanCe Healthcare Equity (REACH), are intended to support early stage investigators who are especially interested in conducting health disparities research.  Other members of this research team include Dr. Lori-Ann Daley and Dr. Lynette Staplefoote Boynton.

Data shows that racial disparities exist in emergency psychiatric care settings and Black individuals are overrepresented in these settings. Black individuals are over diagnosed with psychotic disorders and are more likely to be sent to public institutions for inpatient care than white individuals. Emerging data also suggests that Black individuals are more likely to be restrained during emergency care than their white counterparts.  Through an ongoing cross-sectional study, Dr. Smith’s team has identified that some of these disparities exist at Duke’s psychiatric emergency department.

Because previous studies have not focused on patients’ experiences in these settings, the aim of this qualitative study is to conduct semi-structured interviews to explore the experiences of Black individuals who have received care in the psychiatric emergency unit at Duke University Hospital. Ultimately, the goal is to use the information gathered as a result of the REACH award to inform future interventions to decrease racial disparities in Duke’s emergency psychiatric department.