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Monday Minute with Junko Takeshita

February 5, 2024 Category: Q&A

“Our group is leading a study called the ADs up study. It stands for the atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema disparity study in University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia partnership, it’s really important that I emphasize the partnership part because we really want to make sure we’re working with our community, Philadelphia community members, to help us understand the racial and ethnic health disparities that exist related to eczema or atopic dermatitis. And so our study is really focused on trying to understand how, where people spend their time and the things that they’re coming into contact with and their daily lives. Like the pollen in the air air pollution, we saw a lot of air pollution this summer, because of the Canadian wildfires, how those sorts of things might be affecting people’s skin health, and how they may be affecting racial and ethnic minoritized individuals, disproportionately leading to them suffering from more severe eczema.”

 

How can  government ensure that communities have access to adequate health and human services?

“As we are understanding through this study, what are the things in the built environment, or what are the things that people are coming into contact that are either helpful or detrimental to their skin, that’s where government and policies can help us. Then [they] change the place, the structures in which we’re living, or access to things that are helpful or that we’re finding that are not helpful to skin health. So I’ll just give an example. That’s not necessarily related to eczema that but that has been done in the community, where people have looked at vacant lots and have remediated those and found that that is helpful to people’s health, that has decreased crime in the neighborhoods. And that’s been done by colleagues of mine at the University of Pennsylvania. So I think that’s an example of something that we might be able to impact as well, when we get the results from our study.”

 

How does the effects of poverty housing, community security impact the people that you see and the issues that they have?

“So that’s exactly the type of question that we’re trying to answer. And so that’s why this partnership is so important. We are relying on our community members to join us in this study and help us collect the information that’s necessary to answer those exact questions. We hypothesize our guess is that absolutely where somebody lives, you know, they’re where they spend their time, how difficult it is for them to get healthy foods, etc. Those things do affect your overall health, including your skin health and things that are related to eczema. So that’s the key question we’re trying to answer.

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Final Thoughts

“I really would just like to emphasize, you know, getting the word out, please share this with your constituents, with your colleagues, with your friends, your family, because we really are looking for our community members to partner with us in this study. To help us answer these questions. Without that partnership and participation. It will be very difficult for us to answer these questions and help improve people’s skin health. So we really appreciate everyone’s contribution and partnership in this and really getting the word out.”

 

One piece of advice for leaders to take into the week

“It’s really important that we build and continue those partnerships because we can’t do this research and advanced science and eliminate health disparities without the help and participation of the community members that we are trying to help.”

 

Junko Takeshita, MD, PhD, MSCE  is the Assistant Professor of Dermatology · Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology

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