Race/Ethnicity as Challenge to TBI Caregivers

Race/Ethnicity as Challenge to TBI Caregivers

By: Alexandra de Leon Date: August 12th, 2020

Informal caregivers for persons with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) face several unique issues, including racial and ethnic challenges.


Researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC), UW Medicine and the Department of Anesthesiology of the University of Washington School of Medicine have conducted a new study to understand the racial/ethnic challenges informal TBI caregiving roles face by looking at different publications. The study was published July 8, 2020 in Health Equity.

Out of 4523 different publications, 11 studies included sufficient race/ethnicity data and were included as part of this analysis. Out of these 11, six studies described civilian populations and five described military populations with the Veterans Affairs (VA).

“In our research, we found that most nonwhite caregivers and white caregivers use different approaches and coping strategies while in a caretaking role,” lead researcher & HIPRC trainee Mark Sodders, DAOM, L.Ac. said. “We also saw some studies showing differences in caregiver burden varied by race or ethnicity, while others did not.” Overall, this study highlights the lack of information on race and ethnicity as a factor in TBI caregiver burden and roles.

“We believe more research is needed to create a change for TBI caregivers, especially looking more in depth at minority caretakers,” Sodders said.

This study was funded in part by the Building Research across Interdisciplinary Gaps, the T90/R90 Training Program award, and the National Institutes of Health under a National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health supplement to the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences award KL2 TR002317.

Addressing barriers to healthcare, such as exploring burdens to caregivers, is a step in the right direction toward improving health and reducing health disparities. HIPRC is home to Injury Related Health Equity Across the Lifespan, iHeal. It’s goal is to improve research on health disparities and improve health equity.

For more on the study’s results click here.