Addressing Health Disparities in the US Following COVID-19: Mitzi Joi Williams, MD

The founder and CEO of Joi Life Wellness Group Multiple Sclerosis Center commented on the effect of the pandemic on needs for underrepresented populations in the multiple sclerosis space, as well as the pros and cons of telehealth. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

“Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, I think it's really shined a spotlight on the health disparities in our country. We've learned a lot more about how ethnicity, systemic racism, how living in rural populations, and having limited access to transportation and care has really affected health outcomes in a real time basis.”

In the field of multiple sclerosis (MS), as with other conditions, health disparities persist, with barriers to care negatively affecting certain populations. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, these issues have come to the surface in MS, highlighting the need to put forth fresh initiatives to better serve these patients. 

To learn more about shifts in care for underrepresented and minority populations in 2021, we sat down with Mitzi Joi Williams, MD, board certified neurologist and MS specialist, and founder and CEO, Joi Life Wellness Group Multiple Sclerosis Center. In conversation with NeurologyLive®, Williams highlighted endeavors originating during the pandemic, including the establishment of the first trial of its kind to focus on how ocrelizumab (Ocrevus; Genentech) affects minority populations—the CHIMES trial (NCT04377555)—and the launch of the National African Americans with MS Registry. 

Also discussed were the pros and cons of telemedicine for minority patients with MS. Williams described the practice as a “double-edged sword,” noting that telemedicine increases access and assists those who may not have had reliable transportation to and from appointments but may have negatively impacted those who do not have access to the internet or lack technological proficiency.

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