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Healthcare Experiences of Patients With Down Syndrome Who Are Black, African American, of African Descent, or of Mixed Race

December 2022 | Krell et al. - American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A (2022)

Abstract

Scant research has explored the healthcare experiences of people with Down syndrome (DS) in the United States who are Black, African American, of African descent, or of mixed race. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the barriers and facilitators that such patients and their caregivers face when accessing healthcare. We gathered data in three ways: focus groups with caregivers, a national survey completed by caregivers, and in-depth interviews with primary care providers. Many caregivers and primary care physicians felt that patients with DS who are Black, African American, of African descent, or of mixed race receive a lower quality of medical care than their white counterparts with DS. Caregivers mentioned feeling tired of being reminded by the medical community about their race and wanting acknowledgment that raising a child with DS can be hard at times. Many felt that the medical community's conscious and unconscious racial biases do negatively impact the care of their loved ones with DS. Caregivers desired more race concordant medical providers or, when not possible, medical providers who are willing to learn more about DS and build trusted, longitudinal relationships. Primary care providers discussed the need for funded resources and support services to effectively care for their patients with DS.

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