Health inequities are visible in underrepresented and underserved groups across all domains. Dermatology is not an exception since there were differences in disease burden, access to treatment, and trust between patients and healthcare providers. A community-based, ongoing, interactive, and instructional initiative called Learn2Derm was introduced to fill these gaps. The inaugural event in Ward 8 in Washington, D.C., an impoverished neighborhood with a population that is 92% black, focused on inequities in education and skin cancer screening among people of color.
An IRB-approved survey was distributed to participants to better assess the hurdles to receiving dermatologic treatment as well as participants’ awareness of skin cancer presentation and prevention.
The survey was completed by 49 participants. According to post-survey findings, participants learned that skin cancer can show up beneath the fingernail and that wearing sunscreen can prevent it (P< .05). Participants cited cost as the biggest deterrent to using sunscreen. After the incident, 50% of respondents said they had increased confidence in dermatologists. The two factors that were most likely to boost trust were similar culture and an understandable language (n = 23). The event was liked by all guests who responded to the survey’s last question (n = 47).
The findings showed that community-immersion activities could increase confidence in service providers, improve access to dermatology, promote dialogue between dermatologists and the community, and raise knowledge of dermatological problems. As a result, patients from underprivileged communities can access dermatologic care early in the course of their disease and prevent the long-term effects of untreated skin conditions.