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News & Articles > Q&A with Dr. Sarah N. Bowe, editor of Healthcare Disparities in Otolaryngology, 1st Edition

Interview with Sarah N. Bowe, MD

Why did you feel that it was important to write a book on this topic? What does Healthcare Disparities in Otolaryngology, 1st Edition add to the field?  

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, studies consistently revealed that COVID-19 disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minority groups. Deeply rooted structural inequities were responsible for the disproportionate harm to vulnerable individuals and communities. Nearing the start of the pandemic, demands for broader racial equity and justice also surfaced after George Floyd’s murder. To date, there is no comprehensive publication that addresses these issues within the field of otolaryngology. As a result, we are motivated to provide you with this series of reflective chapters on crucial topics related to healthcare disparities within our specialty. 

What is the most exciting aspect of Healthcare Disparities in Otolaryngology, 1st Edition? What chapter or topic covered are you most excited about?   

The book begins with specialty-wide perspectives, addressing the impact of healthcare system organization, race and ethnicity, sex and gender, LGBTQ+ identity, age, rurality and urbanicity, and health literacy on disparities. The latter part of the book focuses on subspecialty-specific evidence, examining laryngology, rhinology, otology, head and neck oncology, sleep medicine, and facial plastic surgery. Thus, the book provides an opportunity for readers to approach healthcare disparities from broader identity-focused, as well as specialty-focused perspectives.  

Who will find the greatest value from this book and why?   

The audience for this book is expansive. Anyone that is interested in the field of otolaryngology from a clinical, research, or educational perspective will benefit. Our authors represent a diverse group of leading otolaryngology experts who have assembled the most up-to-date recommendations for detecting, understanding, and mitigating healthcare disparities in the field. We believe that the content provides the necessary foundation upon which others can take action to move our specialty forward and provide truly equitable patient-centered care.   

What problem do you hope the future generation of your specialty will be able to solve?   

Health disparities research has a critical role in advancing equity. Most research in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery has focused on detecting disparities, which involves identifying sociodemographic factors, defining health outcomes, and measuring disparities in outcomes among the sociodemographically defined population groups. While detection is an important initial step, it doesn’t provide insight into the underlying causes of those disparities, nor does it suggest a path for mitigating disparities and achieving healthy equity. This is the challenge that exists for the future generation of our specialty, to work toward the elimination of health disparities.  

About the Editors

Sarah N. Bowe, MD  

Pediatric Otolaryngologist 

Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery 

San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium 

JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, TX 

Erynne A. Faucett, MD 

Pediatric Otolaryngology 

Phoenix Children’s Hospital  

Phoenix Arizona  

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