New Duke Research Center Will Address Disparities in Clinical Care

Monday, January 8, 2018
Head shot of Kimberly Johnson, M.D.

Kimberly Johnson, M.D.

The REACH Equity Center launches in a program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Disparities in health care and health outcomes are well documented, particularly for people of color. A new center at Duke, funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), is taking a unique approach to try to eliminate these disparities.

With an award of more than $7.2 million from NIMHD, part of the National Institutes of Health, the new Duke Center for REsearch to AdvanCe Healthcare Equity (REACH Equity) will address racial and ethnic disparities in health by developing and testing interventions to improve the experience of patients when they interact with health care providers and the health system.

Research has long established the issue, finding higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, certain cancers, and pre-term births among African Americans compared to whites. Additionally, social determinants such as poverty, education, access to health care, and community resources widen the disparities gap. And, finally, how health care is delivered also contributes, with racial and ethnic differences noted in who gets certain life-saving treatments and tests, how doctors communicate with patients, and how patients experience their interactions with providers and institutions.

REACH Equity extends this descriptive work with a focus on change.

“What is most exciting about REACH Equity is its goal to move from describing disparities in health between whites and minority patients to developing actionable ways for health care providers and health systems to improve patient care and reduce these disparities,” said Kimberly Johnson, M.D., associate professor of medicine and the project’s principal investigator.

Read full Duke Health article.


What: Launch/presentation of REACH Equity health disparities research center

When: 8 a.m. -11:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018

Where: Trent Semans Great Hall