Sapna Kaul, PhD 2019-2020 Texas RCMAR Scholar
Dr. Kaul was a member of the faculty in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Population Health
Ethnicity, pain, and opioid use among older adults in the U.S.
Mentors: Mukaila Raji, MD and Yong-fang Kuo, PhD
Pain is a prevalent condition among older adults in the U.S., and pain management is crucial for improving patients’ quality of life. Opioids are commonly prescribed analgesics for pain management in the U.S. As per the CDC, over 191 million opioids were prescribed nationwide in 2017 averaging to about 59 prescriptions per 100 persons. Yet, because of negative stereotyping and lower access to health care, older adults belonging to racial and ethnic minority groups (i.e. Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks) may be less likely to receive pain management via opioids compared with non-Hispanic whites. However, there is little information on how pain severity and opioid use may interact with each other to effect patient health outcomes differently among race and ethnicity groups. The current project will use the most recent Medical Expenditures Panel Survey data to examine race and ethnicity-related disparities in reports of pain and opioid use among older adults in the U.S. and identify how these disparities impact patient health outcomes and care experiences.