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Health equity integrated epilepsy care and research: A narrative review.

Gotlieb EG, Blank L, Willis AW, Agarwal P, Jette N. Health equity integrated epilepsy care and research: A narrative review. Epilepsia. 2023 Nov 1; 64(11):2878-2890.

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BACKGROUND: With the unanimous approval of the Intersectoral Global Action Plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders by the World Health Organization in May 2022, there are strong imperatives to work towards equitable neurological care. AIMS: Using epilepsy as an entry point to other neurologic conditions, we discuss disparities faced by marginalized groups including racial/ethnic minorities, Americans living in rural communities, and Americans with low socioeconomic status. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The National Institute on Minority Health Disparities Research Framework (NIMHD) was used to conduct a narrative review through a health equity lens to create an adapted framework for epilepsy and propose approaches to working towards equitable epilepsy and neurological care. RESULTS: In this narrative review, we identified priority populations (racial and ethnic minority, rural-residing, and low socioeconomic status persons with epilepsy) and outcomes (likelihood to see a neurologist, be prescribed antiseizure medications, undergo epilepsy surgery, and be hospitalized) to explore disparities in epilepsy and guide our focused literature search using PubMed. In an adapted NIMHD framework, we examined individual, interpersonal, community, and societal level contributors to health disparities across five domains: (1) behavioral, (2) physical/built environment, (3) sociocultural, (4) environment, and (5) healthcare system. We take a health equity approach to propose initiatives that target modifiable factors that impact disparities and advocate for sustainable change for priority populations. DISCUSSION: To improve equity, healthcare providers and relevant societal stakeholders can advocate for improved care coordination, referrals for epilepsy surgery, access to care, health informatics interventions, and education (i.e., to providers, patients, and communities). More broadly, stakeholders can advocate for reforms in medical education, and in the American health insurance landscape. CONCLUSIONS: Equitable healthcare should be a priority in neurological care.

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