HDSIG Message from the Chair

As Chair of the Health Disparities Special Interest Group, I would like to share these comments from the Seminars in Reproductive Medicine Special Issue on Health Disparities, which I co-edited with Dr. James Segars:

Reproductive problems pose a significant public health problem for women across all age groups, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Women of color, women with few resources, women with limited education, and women from groups such as immigrants, and gay and lesbian women, that have traditionally faced discrimination, are disproportionately affected. By whatever definition one uses for race and ethnicity, unequal access to care, differences in the pathophysiology of disease and a disparate response to treatment are all factors that collectively contribute to health disparities in women. Even physiologic processes such as puberty, ovulation, conception and menopause, vary among different ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Of note, reproductive problems are not solely a result of issues related to access to health care.  Evidence from the medical literature supports disparities in infertility treatment outcomes and an increased prevalence of problems such as preterm birth, sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancy, fibroids and estrogen deficiency states.

The purpose of the Health Disparities SIG is to identify disparities in access and outcomes of women seeking reproductive health services, and to identify strategies to address these disparities and other reproductive problems. We have identified opportunities to partner with other SIGs, such as the Fibroid SIG and Contraception SIG, to provide postgraduate courses, interactive sessions and abstract sessions. In addition, members have also published textbooks, such as Dr. Sharara’s Ethnic Differences in Fertility and Assisted Reproduction, book chapters, and manuscripts relating to health disparities. I would like to invite all ASRM members who have an interest in this area to consider membership in the Health Disparities Special Interest Group.

Alicia Y. Armstrong M.D., MHSCR


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