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AAN 2022 | Partnering with the community & diversifying the workforce to address disparities

Bruce I. Ovbiagele, MD, MSc, FAAN, University of California, San Francisco, CA, describes promising avenues to address and mitigate health inequities and neurological disparities. It is critical to recognize the community and social context as modifiable targets to address brain health equity challenges; trying to be culturally aware of the community when serving disparate populations is essential to understand ways to culturally target and contextually adapt healthcare to the population. Therefore, collaborations between health institutions and the community are highly needed. The development of community advisory boards is a way to better understand the community’s needs. We are currently beginning to see interventions that have been tested in clinical trials showing promise in racial and ethnic minorities. One important step is to adapt the approaches to the communities; for instance, stroke lifestyle modifications to control blood pressure were culturally adapted to enhance adherence. Appreciating the need for workforce diversity is also a major focus; involving individuals from minorities who frequently are passionate about serving in those vulnerable communities will bring several benefits, including mitigating mistrust from those minorities towards the scientific and medical community. Ultimately, it is also necessary to address health and neurological disparities in low to middle-income countries where rates of certain neurological conditions are expected to rise. This interview took place at the American Academy of Neurology 2022 Congress in Seattle, WA.