It’s not just a rash! Dr. McKinley-Grant knows about the inequities surrounding Black women with plaque psoriasis.
Plaque Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease of the skin, “often lumped with Eczema”, says Dr. McKinley-Grant, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Howard University College of Medicine and Adjunct Professor and former Vice Chair for Diversity and Community Engagement at Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Grant is also the former president of the Skin of Color Society.
Some people are born with it, some develop it during childhood. It sometimes starts with arthritis, then a patch of plaque that develops into a life-threatening condition. Patients don’t always have both, says Dr. Grant but a large percentage will.
Disparities in diagnosis
She explains that because most of the information about plaque psoriasis is directed toward lighter-skinned people, “It’s hard to diagnose in darker skin” therefore, people of color often go through hurdles that others do not.
Dr. Grant further explains that the common places people will see the psoriasis are in the scalp, both elbows, and knees. She speaks about a symmetrical pattern.
This condition is “debilitating” psychologically and physically. It affects a person’s self-image in addition to their physical health.
Dr. Grant encourages the public to learn about Determi-nation, Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ commitment to addressing health disparities and bridging the gaps in care for people of color.
She shares that medical professionals from all areas are working together (Nurse Practitioners, Medical Assistants, Physicians, and more) to provide more training for people of color and “address people in all areas” to help with the misdiagnosis of plaque psoriasis.
Dr. Grant describes plaque psoriasis as a “difficult disease” with “no cure”. This is one of the reasons Dr. Grant advises dermatologists to “listen to patients”.
She says it is vital for them to get training on darker skin. Dr. Grant adds that dermatologists should “hear with their eyes and see with their ears”. They need to consider that “it’s not just a rash”.
And finally, she urges dermatologists dealing with plaque psoriasis to know where to