Monika Goyal

Researchers to address pain management inequities with over $4M NIH award

Monika Goyal

Over the years, research led by Dr. Goyal documented racial and ethnic inequities in the ED.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Children’s National Hospital with over $4.2 million to address inequities in pain management for children that come into the emergency department (ED).

Why this matters

The ED is a strategic venue for addressing health inequities, where children account for more than 30 million visits annually.

“There are widespread inequities in the quality-of-care delivery for children. Because the factors contributing to these disparities arise on both individual and systemic levels, it is imperative that we develop interventions to achieve health equity,” said Monika Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., associate chief of Emergency Medicine at Children’s National Hospital and recipient of the award.

Over the years, research led by Dr. Goyal documented racial and ethnic inequities in the ED management of pain among children with long bone fractures and appendicitis and disparities in the management of pain reduction for minoritized children.

“These findings indicate there are differences in health care quality even in settings with universal access,” she added.

The research goal

Dr. Goyal and her team aim to mitigate, and ultimately eradicate, health care inequities through evidence-based interventions. With the research support from the NIH, the team will advance this goal by:

  • Measuring how clinician (physician and nursing) implicit bias is associated with quality of care for pain management in children presenting to the ED with appendicitis or long bone fractures.
  • Using a stakeholder-engaged approach to develop patient- and caregiver-informed quality metrics related to pain management.
  • Develop and measure the impact of ‘Equity Report Cards’ and electronic health record (EHR)-embedded clinical decision support (CDS) tools to mitigate inequities in care delivery.

The bottom line

Most research to date has focused on documenting disparities. This research has the potential to move the needle in equity research by developing and testing interventions that seek to eradicate inequities in care delivery.