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MIRECC Matters - Spring 2022 | Volume 23, Issue 1

A publication of the VISN 5 MIRECC - MIRECC Matters - Putting Recovery into Practice

Evaluation of Multifaceted and Multi-Systems Equity and Disparities in Low Back Pain Treatment and Outcomes in Women Veterans

Marginalized and minoritized women active duty service members and Veterans may experience cumulative and significant inequities in chronic low back pain conditions and management options. Research to-date has identified several structural and systemic barriers to adequate pain management, including bias in pain assessment and referral, delay in treatment, inadequate and inappropriate treatment selection, and lack of patient-centered, culturally responsive provider communication. This study will use DoD and VA administrative data to evaluate equity and disparities of acute and chronic low back pain treatment and timing at the patient-, care-, and contextual-levels. In the short-term, study results will provide key stakeholders and policy makers with the targeted information needed to reduce disparities in minoritized and marginalized women active duty service members and Veterans with low back pain. In particular, results will support practice, program, and policy improvements to prevent the transition of acute to chronic low back pain and successfully manage chronic low back pain in minoritized and marginalized women both in the Military Health System and Veterans Administration. In the long-term, application of these research findings will improve quality of life, reduce military attrition, and reduce healthcare expenditures due to prolonged chronic low back pain and disability.

Additional Resources: The study Principle Investigator (PI), Dr. Krista Highland, is a researcher at the Defensive and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management (DVCPIM), a Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS) research center that conducts research and shares helpful clinical and educational resources for acute and chronic pain concerns. For more information:


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