Examining Socioeconomic Disparities in Patients with Benign Thyroid Disease

January 10, 2022
UCSF OHNS's Patrick Ha Receives Teaching Award from Graduating Medical Students

One of the research interests amongst head and neck surgeons in the UC San Francisco Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (UCSF OHNS) is the study of disparities in patients treated for cancerous and noncancerous conditions of the head and neck. Since January is Thyroid Month, we wanted to highlight research conducted by UCSF Department of Head and Neck Surgery which examined socioeconomic disparities in a population of patients undergoing total thyroidectomy for benign disease.

This study examined the effect of insurance status - as a measure of socioeconomic status - on patients with benign thyroid disease. Our team performed a retrospective review of 60 patients who underwent total thyroidectomy for benign thyroid disease and examined the relationship between insurance status and thyroid degree of thyroid enlargement."

Patients reviewed were from three of our teaching hospitals - Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG) and two UCSF Medical Center campuses. Overall, the team found that patients of underinsured/uninsured status suffered more severe disease presentations at the time of thyroidectomy. This likely means these patients avoid or are unable to access treatment for years until thyroid enlargement becomes symptomatic. The study was published in Head & Neck. Marika Russell, MD, Patrick Ha, MDJonathan George, MD, MPHChase Heaton, MDWilliam Ryan, MD and Ivan El-Sayed, MD were authors on the study. Dr. Tara Wu, a former UCSF medical student and current OHNS resident at UCLA contributed as first author.

Disparities are known to exist in many facets of thyroid surgery care. It is important to continue research efforts in this area to ensure that we understand the factors impacting outcomes in vulnerable populations.

UCSF Doctors

Image removed.Image removed.Image removed.Image removed.