Racial Differences in Patient-provider Communication, Patient Self-efficacy, and Their Associations With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus-related Damage: A Cross-sectional Survey.



Despite significant racial disparities in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) outcomes, few studies have examined how disparities may be perpetuated in clinical encounters. We aimed to explore associations between areas of clinical encounters - patient-provider communication and patient self-efficacy - with SLE-related damage, in order to identify potential areas for intervention to reduce SLE outcome disparities.


We collected cross-sectional data from a tertiary SLE clinic including patient-provider communication, general self-efficacy, self-efficacy for managing medications and treatments, patient-reported health status, and clinical information. We compared racial groups and used logistic regression to assess race-stratified association of patient-provider communication and patient self-efficacy with having SLE-related damage.


Among 121 patients (37% White, 63% African American), African Americans were younger, more likely to be on Medicaid, and less likely to be college educated, married, or living with a partner or spouse. African Americans reported less fatigue and better social function, took more complex SLE medication regimens, had lower fibromyalgia (FM) scores, and had higher SLE disease activity and SLE-related damage scores. African Americans reported similar self-efficacy compared to White patients, but they reported more hurried communication with providers, which was reflected in their perception that providers used words that were difficult to understand. Perceiving providers use difficult words and lower general self-efficacy were associated with having SLE-related damage among African American but not White patients.


African Americans had more severe SLE and perceived more hurried communication with providers. Both worse communication and lower self-efficacy were associated with having SLE-related damage among African American but not White patients, suggesting that these factors should be investigated as potential interventions to reduce SLE racial disparities.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Sun, Kai, Amanda M Eudy, Lisa G Criscione-Schreiber, Rebecca E Sadun, Jennifer L Rogers, Jayanth Doss, Amy L Corneli, Hayden B Bosworth, et al. (2021). Racial Differences in Patient-provider Communication, Patient Self-efficacy, and Their Associations With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus-related Damage: A Cross-sectional Survey. The Journal of rheumatology, 48(7). pp. 1022–1028. 10.3899/jrheum.200682 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28697.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Kai Sun

Assistant Professor of Medicine

My clinical interests are in general rheumatology, lupus, and musculoskeletal ultrasound. My research interest is in healthcare disparities and medication adherence in rheumatology.


Amanda Marie Eudy

Assistant Professor in Medicine

Lisa Giorgina Criscione-Schreiber

Professor of Medicine

My clinical interests include systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and inflammatory myopathies.  I also  maintain a general rheumatology continuity clinic for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, and other forms of inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune diseases.  In 2007, I co-founded the Duke Lupus Clinic with Dr. Megan Clowse.  We have continued this clinic with the aim to improve the health and quality of life for individuals living with lupus. 

My primary research interests are in education and in SLE.  My particular interest within education is learner assessment.  I was previously funded by a Clinician Scholar Educator Award through the Rheumatology Research Foundation of the American College of Rheumatology.  My CSE project explored validation of a rheumatology objective structured clinical examination (ROSCE). I continue to collaborate with the Rheumatology Program Directors at UNC Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University, the Medical University of South Carolina and Massachusetts General Hospital through our Carolinas Fellows Collaborative. Members of this group composed the competency-based goals and objectives (CBGO) for all learning activities of rheumatology fellowship training programs, which were adopted by the American College of Rheumatology and are posted on their website. I have been very involved in rheumatology curricular efforts through the American College of Rheumatology. I served on the Milestones working group and am a past member and past Chair of the ACR Curriculum Subcommittee of the Committee on Training and Workforce. I previously participated on the ACR/NBME rheumatology in-training examination working group.               

Clinical research in lupus has included the Duke Lupus Registry population.  Our recent work focuses on creating and defining the type 1 and type 2 lupus paradigms for classifying lupus disease activity.  Additional interests through the Duke Lupus Clinic include elucidating clinician-level factors that can influence medication adherence as well as determining how health literacy and numeracy impact adherence and patient level outcomes.  I collaborate with Dr. Megan Clowse, who studies reproductive health in women with autoimmune diseases.  We have combined her subject matter expertise with my educational skills to create HOP-STEP, a program to teach patients with lupus and their rheumatologists about pregnancy planning to improve health outcomes.  We have created lupuspregnancy.org, which houses many resources and videos designed to teach rheumatologists to better partner with women with lupus to have open and honest discussions about pregnancy planning.  Our ultimate aim is to improve the health outcomes for women with lupus and their offspring. 


Rebecca Eli Sadun

Associate Professor of Medicine

I am an adult and pediatric rheumatologist with clinical and research interests in the areas of lupus and transition to adult care.  My time is split between the departments of Medicine and Pediatrics.  In addition to seeing patients in both environments, I run a dedicated Young Adult Rheumatology Clinic in collaboration with Duke Family Medicine.


Amy Lynn Corneli

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Amy Corneli, a social scientist by training, conducts qualitative, mixed-method, intervention, and implementation science research. Her work spans the U.S. and multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. She has a history of collaborating with and learning from community organizations and representatives in conducting research with populations that face discrimination, bias, or unequal treatment within the healthcare system and society due to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Her collaborative research often focuses on generating synergies between the creativity of art and the analytical thinking of science. The findings from her research inform clinical trials and practice, socio-behavioral interventions, guideline development, and the practical dissemination of proven interventions.

Dr. Corneli's current research portfolio encompasses three areas:

  1. Leading, co-leading, mentoring, and supporting qualitative, mixed-methods, and implementation science research in HIV prevention.
  2. Serving as a methodological investigative partner on qualitative, mixed-methods, and intervention research on a variety of health conditions and topics with faculty in the School of Medicine at Duke University.
  3. Leading the social science team for the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative, a public-private initiative between Duke University and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Corneli is also the:

  1. Founder and Director of QualCore, a group of PhD- and master-level social scientists who partner with Duke faculty to provide scientific direction and interviewing and analysis expertise in qualitative research.
  2. Co-founder and Director of The BASE (Bioethics and Stakeholder Engagement) Lab, a group of faculty and staff that partner with clinical investigators at Duke to conduct research with key contributors to inform the planning, conduct, interpretation, and reporting of clinical research.
  3. Director of the Duke CFAR Social and Behavioral Sciences Core.

QualCore | https://populationhealth.duke.edu/research/qualcore

The BASE Lab | https://populationhealth.duke.edu/research/base-lab

Duke CFAR Social and Behavioral Sciences Core | https://cfar.duke.edu 

Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative | https://www.ctti-clinicaltrials.org 

Prior to joining Duke University, Dr. Corneli was engaged in biomedical HIV prevention research at FHI 360 for 10 years.


Megan Elizabeth Bowles Clowse

Associate Professor of Medicine

Dr. Megan Clowse is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Immunology; she also holds joint appointments in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Population Health Sciences.  Her clinical research focuses on the management of rheumatic diseases in pregnancy. She has cared for over 1000 pregnancies in women with rheumatic disease, collecting information on these pregnancies initially in the Duke Autoimmunity in Pregnancy Registry and Repository, and the MADRA (Maternal Autoimmune Disease Research Alliance) registry and repository.  She served on the Core Leadership Team for the inaugural American College of Rheumatology's Reproductive Health Guidelines, published January 2020.  Dr. Clowse created www.LupusPregnancy.org and www.ReproRheum.Duke.edu, websites dedicated to improving pregnancy planning and management for patients and rheumatologists.  

Dr. Clowse was the founding director of the Duke Lupus Clinic, where she continues to see patients each week and mentor junior faculty researchers.  The team has developed a new approach to lupus classification and management and is currently collecting and analyzing patient- and physician-reported measures to  better clarify this construct.  

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