Scientific Symposium Raises Awareness of Caring for Marginalized Patients


Disparities in health care exist for marginalized patients, and providers must learn the tools to care properly for all patient groups, regardless of their ethnic or sexual identities, incarceration status, or whether they’ve been displaced.

Erin S. DeMartino, MD
Erin S. DeMartino, MD

Caring for Historically Marginalized Patients: Ethical, Legal, and Advocacy Primer for Providers will take place on Sunday, May 21, from 9–10:30 a.m. ET in the Marquis Ballroom, Salon 5 (Level M2) of the Marriott Marquis Washington.

“Educating yourself on how to react when new patients come into your clinic is important because it’s affecting people in real time,” said session Co-Chair Erin S. DeMartino, MD, an internist and pulmonologist at the Mayo Clinic. “There are opportunities for us to really step up and advocate. But if we don’t, if we are not alert to these problems, and if we don’t have any sense of how to address them, then we often fall silent and fail to step up.”

Co-Chair Matthew F. Griffith, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine-pulmonary sciences and critical care, University of Colorado School of Medicine, said that while clinicians are trained to provide for a “standard” patient, this symposium will help attendees tailor that base education for a wider group of patients.

Matthew F. Griffith, MD, MPH

“There are a whole number of patient populations that are outside of this kind of square hole, square peg situation, and we often are left navigating that. This session will provide guidance for our colleagues to be aware of some of these challenges and some strategies for navigating them,” Dr. Griffith said.

Featured presentations will include:

  • A Patient’s Perspective, Marsha Henderson, Washington, DC
  • A Chilling Effect: Immigration Policy and Documentation Status-Related Challenges to the Delivery of a Critical Care for Immigrant Populations, Maya Venkataramani, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Serious Mental Health, Home Insecurity and Family Estrangement: Clinical Challenges in Medical Decision Making and Patients Declining Treatment, Matthew F. Griffith, MD, MPH, University of Colorado School of Medicine & Rocky Mountain VA Health System
  • Advocating for the Rights of Justice-Involved Patients, Erin S. DeMartino, MD, Mayo Clinic
  • Decision Making for ICU Patients Without Heteronormative Partners/Surrogates, Kathleen M. Akgun, MD, MS, ATSF, Yale School of Medicine & VA-Connecticut Healthcare System
  • Navigating Variable Legal Access to Standard Therapies Across State Lines, Alison E. Turnbull, DVM, MPH, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
  • Reducing Stigma During Home Care Transition Education Out of the ICU of Low-Literacy Parents of Children with Heart Disease, Sandra Staveski, PhD, RN, CPNP-AC, University of California San Francisco School of Nursing and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
Kathleen M. Akgun, MD, MS, ATSF
Kathleen M. Akgun, MD, MS, ATSF

“We intentionally built this as a session that’s not just relevant to intensivists, to pulmonologists, to the Nursing Council, to basic sciences,” said session Co-Chair Kathleen M. Akgun, MD, MS, ATSF, associate professor of medicine, Yale School of Medicine.

Discussion about marginalized patients can benefit providers across the breadth of the health care spectrum because there can be a lack of information on this topic from residency to fellowship, she explained.

“I’m proud of what can be done when just one person stops for a moment to think about what they could do for another person. Yes, in terms of getting the right antibiotics and titrating the ventilator just right, but also just listening and hearing what’s important to that person in terms of their decision,” Dr. Akgun said.

Sarah Beesley, MD, MSc, Intermountain Medical Center, will also co-chair this discussion.

Don’t Miss ATS 2024 Highlights: On Demand

Don’t forget that ATS 2024 Highlights: On Demand are available to all conference registrants! On Demand will give you access to the Opening Ceremony, Plenary session, Keynote Series, Clinical Year in Review, Adult Clinical Core Curriculum, and so much more. The topics will cover ILD, asthma, health equity, and CF, to name just a few. On Demand content will be accessible to all ATS 2024 full conference and On Demand registrants until March 2025.