Boston Scientific Tackles Widespread Disparities in Healthcare With its Close the Gap Program

Aug 12, 2014 1:20 PM ET
Boston Scientific

In America, heart disease [1] is the #1 killer, taking more lives each year than all cancers combined.  And although diseaseprevalence is similar across genders and ethnicities, awareness of risk factors and disparity in treatment rates are not. Close the Gap, a Boston Scientific educational initiative, was established in 2006 to address disparities in cardiovascular care for the underserved patient populations of women, African Americans, and Hispanic/Latino Americans.  Initially focused solely on cardiovascular health, Close the Gap recently expanded its mission to address healthcare disparities that exist in other disease states, including asthma, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer.[2-5]

As a developer and manufacturer of innovative medical devices, Boston Scientific is dedicated to transforming lives and improving the health of patients around the world. “We care about the patient journey. And we want to do our part to help ensure everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or primary language, receives optimal health care,” said Mariana Rodrigues, Program Director for Close the Gap. Managed by a small, dedicated team of four who coordinate events and work with Close the Gap partners, the program has become a staple of Boston Scientific’s corporate citizenship efforts.

Tackling such a wide-reaching issue necessitates the use of partners in the healthcare profession. “Boston Scientific can’t do this work alone. We need healthcare professionals to partner with us to help reach our target audiences,” said Rodrigues. This approach helped Boston Scientific to determine the focus areas of the program. The founding group of physicians felt that in order to make an impact, efforts of the program needed to educate both the patient as well as the healthcare provider. “Educating the patient leads them to seek care, and educating the healthcare provider helps the patient get access to the guideline-based care they need,” Rodrigues stated.

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