“We all have biases. We need to check them at the door.”
Jaime is particularly passionate about spreading her message to Black people living with migraine, who may feel unheard or undervalued in their interactions with healthcare providers. In fact, research studies indicate that implicit bias – negative unconscious or automatic feelings and beliefs about others – against Black and dark-skinned individuals is still held by many healthcare providers. 6 And this bias may impact health outcomes. Studies show that Black Americans are less likely to receive a migraine diagnosis or be prescribed migraine medication. 5 Even today, in 2021, healthcare providers may not be as “woke” as they would like to think, Jaime says.
“I’m constantly aware of the skin I’m in, and rather than rejoicing in the beauty of it, I am cognizant that it will dictate how I am treated. Regardless of where you come from, we all have biases. You need to check them at the door and focus on ‘what can I do to help you?” she says to the headache medicine community.
Bias may also be stalling the scientific community’s understanding of the origins and impact of migraine on people of color. A review of headache clinical trials found that non-whites are vastly underrepresented, with white participants accounting for more than 80 percent of trial participants. 7 Studies also did not analyze safety or efficacy of potential treatments by race. 7
This underrepresentation in research, the headache medical and patient community is what Jaime is dedicated to reversing. Among her efforts, she is a member of the Disparities in Headache Advisory Council, a collaborative effort comprised of patient-advocacy organization leaders, headache patients and healthcare providers working to identify and determine solutions to racial disparities in headache medicine. The group will also be making recommendations for diversifying the headache patient community. Lundbeck is a founding sponsor of the group.
“This is about having uncomfortable conversations and asking people to check their privilege and do the work so our progress in migraine can encompass all communities of people,” she says.