Health Disparities and Equities in the Multiple Sclerosis Latinx Community: Farren B. S. Briggs, PhD, ScM


The associate professor in the department of population and quantitative health sciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine talked about striving to understand and address the disparities among Latinx patients with multiple sclerosis. [WATCH TIME: 2 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 2 minutes

"People are listening and are engaging in work to have an impact on the Latinx community. It's not lip service; I think people are rolling up their sleeves and doing the hard work. Conversations about race, health, and disparities are uncomfortable, but these are the conversations that give us meaning. These are conversations that get us to a place of equity."

In the United States, Black and Latinx patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have historically been underrepresented in clinical trials that investigate potential therapies for the disease. These specific patient populations also experience greater disease severity and more rapid disease progression in comparison with White individuals with the disease. Above all, the insufficiency of diversity and inclusion in MS research affects the ability to effectively explore the risks, benefits, and responses to treatment in a generalized patient population.1

In a recent retrospective cross-sectional study, results demonstrated that MS onset occurred 5 years earlier among Latinx in the US in comparison with White patients. Among 3089 patients diagnosed between 2010 and 2020 included in the analysis, the results also suggested that specific race/ethnicities may differentially present with clinically isolated syndrome or progressive phenotypes. These findings were presented at the 2023 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting, May 31 to June 3, in Aurora, Colorado, by Farren B. S. Briggs, PhD, ScM, in a disease management platform session.2

Recently, Briggs, associate professor in the department of population and quantitative health sciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® at the meeting to discuss how the perception of ethnicity as part of race among the Latinx community can influence disease pattern categorization. He spoke about the significant differences in disease course and presentation of MS between White Latinx individuals and Latinx nonWhites. Briggs also talked about how the recent focus on social justice and health disparities has impacted the approach to healthcare for underrepresented populations like the Latinx community with MS.

Click here for more coverage of CMSC 2023.

1. Williams MJ, Okai AF, Cross AH, et al. Demographics and baseline disease characteristics of Black and Hispanic patients with multiple sclerosis in the open-label, single-arm, multicenter, phase IV CHIMES trial. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2023;76:104794. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2023.104794
2. Briggs FBS. Latinx with Multiple Sclerosis Have an Earlier Onset. Presented at: 2023 CMSC Annual Meeting; May 31-June 3; Aurora, CO. DMX04.

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