In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine Dr. Jane L. Delgado says current research and standards of care often reflect old assumptions rather than new data
February 5, 2022. Washington, DC. Until the health system makes a fundamental shift in its conceptual models of health research and care, we will perpetuate the barriers that compromise the health of all communities, concludes Jane L. Delgado, PhD, MS, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health in a Perspective published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
“The many efforts on diversity and inclusion will only lead to more lives lost if we continue to force data into the conceptual frameworks and processes that created and perpetuated the barriers and misconceptions that still prevail,” Dr. Delgado added.
In the NEJM Perspective, Beyond Diversity — Time for New Models of Health, to be published February 10, 2022, Dr. Delgado describes how increased availability of diverse data has not resulted in developing new and better models of health. She provides concrete examples of how data that do not support the prevailing models of health have been ignored or diminished. She contends that unbiased analysis of data on the health of Hispanics and other communities would have moved us beyond existing models of health with better results for all communities.
Dr. Delgado proposes three essential steps to develop new paradigms that can lead to better outcomes: (1) greater introspection and discernment to identify the intellectual blinders that cause key data to be ignored; (2) recognition that decades-long data often exclude important information on key parts of the population, e.g., women; and, (3) the need to combine data from public health, medicine, economics, behavioral science, and commercial entities (from insurers to Meta) to create an evidence base that fully incorporates the many factors that define a person’s life and health.
“The health system fails when those who are entrusted with conducting meaningful research and providing care dismiss the data, stick to outdated models, and refuse to change. A healthier future depends on the ability to leverage the insights and possibilities that are revealed by the diversity in data that we can now collect and analyze, so we can provide quality care,” said Dr. Delgado.