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Health Disparities & Diversity

The UofU is leading innovative and progressive anti-racism initiatives across our campus, including through the health system which has made addressing inequalities a core institutional goal. It has become increasingly clear that clinical algorithms that use race can have unintended consequences that exacerbate racial health disparities. For example, a given clinical algorithm could consider Black patients to be at lower risk than white patients, resulting in Black patients not receiving as much care. This can also be the case with gender. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends more aggressive lipid disorder screening for men than for women. The implementation of these algorithms into clinical decision support (CDS), such as in EHR preventive care reminders, could therefore lead to exacerbating racial and gender health disparities.

Health disparities and diversity topics and opportunities for research are woven through DBMI's curriculum. Moreover, Dr. Maia Hightower, DBMI adjunct faculty and UofU Health CMIO, is leading efforts to address these issues using informatics in partnership with DBMI via the enterprise Clinical Decision Support committee and ReImagine EHR Initiative, which actively recruits trainees. DBMI faculty members, Drs. Del Fiol, Wetter, and Kawamoto, are also core members of the Center for HOPE, which investigates informatics interventions to reduce health disparities.