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Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Research: Clinical Disease Course and Healthcare Access in Black People with PD

Study Rationale: Few studies have been conducted on the clinical disease course and healthcare access in Black people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) compared to their White counterparts, and the existing studies are largely limited by the lack of participants and information on the Black PD population. The University of Chicago has a large Black PD population and a team experienced in studying healthcare disparities within this population. We propose to study the disease course and health care access in a larger cohort of Black people with PD that includes more information on potentially confounding factors, such as demographics, socioeconomic disparities and comorbidities.  

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that disease onset, progression, survival course, and healthcare access in Black people with PD could differ from that of their White counterparts, particularly in light of potentially confounding factors, such as demographics, socioeconomic disparities, comorbidities and the severity of motor and nonmotor symptom. 

Study Design: We will use what we believe is the largest database on Black people with PD collected by a single medical center from 2006-2021. In combination with retrospective and prospective follow-ups on these individuals, we will compile data on disease progression (as measured by changes in motor and nonmotor symptoms) and survival, along with statistics on health care access, demographics, socioeconomic status and comorbidities. From this database, we should be able to build a comprehensive model of disease progression and survival and obtain health care access information for the Black PD population that is well controlled with respect to potential confounding factors.  

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease: This study will provide comprehensive information and new insights on disease onset, progression, survival, and health care access disparities in Black people with PD, which will have a significant impact on future health care for Black people with PD and will enhance our understanding of PD pathology overall.  

Next Steps for Development: The results of this study will be published and shared with health care professionals, policy makers and people in the Black PD community, and they will ultimately be used to improve the healthcare access and quality of care for the Black PD population. 


  • Tao Xie, MD, PhD

    Chicago, IL United States

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