Addressing Health Equity in Clinical Practice

KPSOM professor speaks on race, racism, and social determinants of health to organization of internal medicine specialists

October 04, 2022

KPSOM Prof. Quyen Ngo-Metzger, MD, MPH

KPSOM Prof. Quyen Ngo-Metzger, MD, MPH

Quyen Ngo-Metzger, MD, MPH, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine Professor of Health Systems Science, presented “Addressing Health Equity in Clinical Practice Guidelines Development” during the American College of Physicians (ACP) Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee meeting on September 14, 2022. The ACP is the largest professional organization representing internal medicine and is comprised of a “diverse, global community of internal medicine specialists and subspecialists united by a commitment to excellence.” In particular, the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee is instrumental in developing the organization’s practice guidelines.

During the presentation, Dr. Ngo-Metzger discussed how race is a social classification that has been socially, politically, and legally constructed. In addition, she pointed out that race does not have an accurate and distinctive biological or genetic base and that race is a social construct that has health implications through racism.

Dr. Ngo-Metzger further shared that it is important to address race, racism, and the social determinants of health when guidelines committees develop clinical practice principles to address health inequity. In addition, she said it is important to engage stakeholders such as clinicians and racial/ethnically diverse patients when developing clinical practice guidelines to best address health equity.

“It was important for me to give this talk as I think that we all need to take into account how racism and other social drivers such as food, housing insecurity, and lack of language access for those with limited-English proficiency results in worse health outcomes,” said Dr. Ngo-Metzger. “We cannot address health disparities without taking these social drivers into consideration as they have health implications.”