Examining black and white racial disparities in emergency department consultations by age and gender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: While significant racial inequities in health outcomes exist in the United States, these inequities may also exist in healthcare processes, including the Emergency Department (ED). Additionally, gender has emerged in assessing racial healthcare disparity research. This study seeks to determine the association between race and the number and type of ED consultations given to patients presenting at a safety-net, academic hospital, which includes a level-one trauma center. Method: Retrospective data was collected on the first 2000 patients who arrived at the ED from 1/1/2015–1/7/2015, with 532 patients being excluded. Of the eligible patients, 77% (74.6% adults and 80.7% pediatric patients) were black and 23% (25.4% adults and 19.3% pediatric patients) were white. Results: White and black adult patients receive similar numbers of ED consultations and remained after gender stratification. White pediatric males have a 91% higher incidence of receiving an ED consultation in comparison to their white counterparts. No difference was found between black and white adult patients when assessing the risk of receiving consultations. White adult females have a 260% higher risk of receiving both types of consultations than their black counterparts. Black and white pediatric patients had the same risk of receiving consultations, however, white pediatric males have a 194% higher risk of receiving a specialty consultation as compared to their white counterparts. Discussion: Future work should focus on both healthcare practice improvements, as well as explanatory and preventive research practices. Healthcare practice improvements can encompass development of appropriate racial bias trainings and institutionalization of conversations about race in medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-70
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Consultations
  • Emergency department
  • Health disparities
  • Racial disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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