Research contends that symptoms associated with many chronic illnesses impact the individual’s physical and psychological health, social existence, and emotional well-being. However, factors associated with the experience and management of these health outcomes, particularly among diverse race populations, are poorly understood. This conceptual issue has evolved into a threefold research agenda:
1. Examine intra (within) race group variability in symptom and chronic disease (pain, cancer, arthritis, etc.) self-management among community- and clinic based populations, while identifying psychosocial and physical health indicators influencing the experience and management of these conditions. Applying an a priori within group approach allows me to rigorously examine the unique characteristics specific to that population (older adults, Black men), while providing a mechanism by which to draw more valid conclusions when comparing race groups. This is an important approach considering potential differences that occur between race groups within their historical, cultural, and socialized patterns.
2. Assess factors that contribute to health disparities and inequities in the management of disease, and receipt of and access to healthcare resources and services. This involves understanding the influence social determinants have at the patient, provider, and institutional levels.
3. Design and implement intervention programs addressing barriers to optimal symptom management among diverse race and marginalized populations. I have received federal funding to specifically investigate social, psychological, and cultural factors that influence health outcomes, but specifically understand how these factors influence the design and participation in community (and clinic)-base intervention programs and research.