Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD: Asking Questions About Eczema Data, Disparities in Care

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This interview with Dr. Feldman involved a discussion on new findings regarding atopic dermatitis patient preferences and racial disparities in dermatologic care.

Several studies at the 2023 Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference in Las Vegas revealed important findings in the field of dermatology, including a few patient-centered studies exploring hot topics in the space.

One of the studies presented highlighted patient preferences for atopic dermatitis (AD) treatment, with a focus on meaningful itch control and concerns about adverse effects like cancer, respiratory infections, and heart problems.

Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD, spoke with HCPLive on the recent study and gave several helpful insights given his own involvement as an investigator. Feldman is known for his work as both a dermatologist and skin pathologist at Wake Forest Baptist Health.

“I was involved with that study, Feldman said. “It did show that when you take a big group of people…including people who come from minority groups that often aren't included in trials, people with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, and you scientifically probe: ‘What are the things that really concern them in the treatment?’ It wasn't things like lab work, or how you got the treatment, whether it was oral or injectable. It was ‘How well are you relieving itch?’ and ‘Am I going to have side effects?’ In particular, they wanted to avoid things like cancer.”

Feldman noted that this may be valuable information for pharmaceutical companies that are developing new products, to know what patients are generally interested in.

Additionally, there was a study that looked at racial disparities in AD severity, finding that Black patients experiencing more substantial symptoms. Feldman was asked about potential factors that might contribute to these disparities.

“There could be lots of reasons,” Feldman explained. “One could be that they're genetically predisposed, although I don't know if the data supports that if they move from 1 area to another if they're atopic disease changes.”

Feldman listed several potential reasons for such disparities, explaining the value of helping all groups to improve their access to some of the many treatments available for AD today.

“What conductors do well, we got crazy treatments for people, the key thing is getting them to use them. So establishing a relationship where there's trust in the physician, I think, is critical. I've seen some suggestions that people want to see and are more comfortable seeing a doctor that they can relate to. Therefore, perhaps diversity in the workforce could be as important as some of the other factors which mean diversity in the training programs, diversity in what it takes to get access to a dermatology training program.”

To learn more on Feldman’s responses, view the full video segment posted above.

The quotes used in this summary were edited for the purposes of clarity.