Ignite Magazine | Spring 2021

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LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT

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nteracting one-on-one with patients housing development has a cockroach inwill always be special to Princess festation; however, because of finances they Ogbogu, M.D. (’00). But as Chief are unable to move to a different location. of the Division of Allergy, ImmunoloThe child has had many episodes of accidental food ingestion, the last one resultgy, and Rheumatology at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s ing in an overnight hospitalization for Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, the anaphylaxis. The parents are frustrated NEOMED alumna also seeks out opand unsure what to do next. portunities to make a broader mark – Excerpted from “Disparities in — for example, to help build pipelines Asthma and Allergy Care: What Can for underrepresented students to enter We Do?” by Princess U. Ogbogu, M.D.; medical school. Quinn Capers IV, M.D.; and Andrea Dr. Ogbogu (pronounced oh-BOJ. Apter, M.D.; published in The Journal goo; the first g is silent) serves on the of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In American Board of Allergy and Practice, an official publication Immunology Board of Directors of the American Academy of Alas well as on the President’s Dilergy, Asthma & Immunology versity and Equity Advisory (AAAAI), Volume 9, Issue 2, Council at NEOMED. She also February 2021. conducts research, often related to issues of health equity and the FACTORS social determinants of health. A The authors addressed social BY ELAINE GUREGIAN determinants of health, looking recent journal article that she co-authored, “Disparities in at societal factors as well as strucAsthma and Allergy Care: What Can We Do?” looked at the tural bias underlying the family’s situation in Case 3. Among relationship between asthma and COVID-19. factors discussed by the researchers: “Earlier in the pandemic, people with asthma were really Redlining – the structural practice among financial institutions scared: ‘If I get this virus, what’s going to happen to me?’ says to deny loans and more to people based on their race or ethnicity, thus restricting access to better housing and health Dr. Ogbogu. “Over the last 12 months we learned that asthma is not as significant as a risk factor as we thought it could be Food deserts – poor access to healthy food, which in turn — that you might not have more severe [COVID-19] disease increases comorbidities of diseases just because you have asthma.” Jobs – overrepresentation of Black people in service jobs that rarely offer paid time off or paid health care Health education – less access to reliable health information IDENTIFYING INEQUITIES In the paper “Disparities in Asthma and Allergy Care: What Can We Do?” Dr. Ogbogu and her research partners laid out SOLUTIONS five case studies to demonstrate the many ways that social What could clinicians do to help in such a scenario? Dr. Ogbogu and her co-authors recommend: determinants of health — good and bad — affect everyone. Take part in diversity and communication training to help They noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded health inequities. For example, in Chicago, where 30% of the clinicians understand medical recommendations in the context population is Black, 68% of the COVID-19-related deaths of their own beliefs. Training could include attending a were among Black people in summer 2020, when the paper cross-cultural communication course, such as the one created was written. by Dr. Ogbogu for the AAAAI. Case 3 Work with community health workers to understand the A 10-year-old Black boy presents to the allergist with severe patient’s cultural beliefs and help the patient understand medeczema and multiple food allergies. The child lives with his parents ical recommendations in the context of their own beliefs. Join committees or community organizations that are deand four siblings in an urban housing development in a food voted to reducing health disparities, similar to the mission of desert. On allergy testing, the child is sensitized to mouse, cockroach, the AAAAI Committee on the Underserved. dust mite, milk, egg, and peanut. The parents mention that the

ADVOCATING FOR HEALTH EQUITY: Princess Ogbogu

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