Amy Sawyer, PhD: Disparities in Sleep Medicine at SLEEP 2023


There is a need for more large scale studies focusing on treatment adherence for sleep apnea in minority communities.

There are many disparities that are prominent in sleep medicine, including access to care and the ability to get screened and treated.

In a presentation made during the SLEEP 2023 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Amy M. Sawyer, PhD, RN, Associate Professor of Sleep & Health Behavior, University of Pennsylvania, explained how racial disparities are prominent for Black or Hispanic males with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Sawyer led a team of investigators and found minority patients were less likely to use positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, have less usage when still using PAP, and were less likely to achieve adherence thresholds at the 18-24 month mark.

This shows that long-term PAP disparities continue to exist, even after the investigators accounted for some short-term differences.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Sawyer explained how important treatment adherence is and what can be done to improve adherence.

“Over the past decade we’ve done a lot of intervention work in terms of improving PAP using educational interventions, behavioral interventions, cognitive behavior therapy, as well as telemedicine approaches,” Sawyer said.

However, there has not been large-scale studies done in the past in minority communities for adherence to PAP use.

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