Trust. It’s a strong word that takes years, often decades, to develop, especially between health care researchers and residents in a challenged community like West Baltimore.
But thanks to the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and its PATIENTS Program, that distrust of medical research, which goes back generations, is slowly fading as the goal of reducing health inequities grows. Using patient-centered outcomes research, the team gives patients, especially those from minority populations, a say in their own care and lets them guide research that ultimately improves that care for others.
“As a researcher, I began to realize that instead of analyzing data and then presenting what we found, we really should be talking to patients upfront,” says C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP) and executive director of the PATIENTS (PATient-centered Involvement in Evaluating the effectiveNess of TreatmentS) Program. “Yes, it’s important to collect and analyze data. But if we’re not asking the right questions, then the results aren’t going to have the impact they could.”
Karen Morales, associate director of engagement for the PATIENTS Program, has seen this growth firsthand. The program hits close to home with Morales, whose father is Hispanic and whose mother is Black.
“I come from an underserved and underrepresented health care community in New Jersey,” says Morales, who joined the University of Maryland Medical System in 1991 and has been part of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) since 2000. “The PATIENTS Program is striving to make a dent in health inequity, helping to improve the lives of those who may not have had the opportunity to have their voices heard in the past. So, for me, that’s critical.”
Read more about how the PATIENTS Program is working to amplify the community’s voice in the areas of research and care, in this month’s issue of SPOTLIGHT newsletter.
Don’t miss the current issue of SPOTLIGHT newsletter featuring compelling stories that connect philanthropy and UMB’s Catalyst Campaign to newsworthy events and milestones happening across the University.