The Imperative for Racial Equality in Pain Science: A Way Forward

Academic Article


  • Racial equity is imperative to the future and integrity of scientific inquiry. In 2020, citizens of the United States (and globally) witnessed one of the most vile and egregious experiences of police brutality and systemic racism in recent history, the public execution of a Black American man. While some may isolate this and other similar events from influencing the scientific endeavors of pain researchers, events such as this can have a direct impact on the study, lived experience, and expression of pain in Black Americans. To truly understand the biopsychosocial effects of inequality and injustice on pain disparities, we must consider the unintended consequences that our current research approaches have in limiting the reliability and validity of scientific discovery. As we reflect on our current research practices in an effort to improve pain science, this perspective article discusses ways to initiate positive change in order to advance the science of pain in more equitable ways, not just for Black Americans, but for all individuals that identify as part of an underrepresented group. Perspective: Elimination of inequities in pain care and research requires the identification, naming, and mitigation of systemic discriminatory and biased practices that limit our understanding of pain disparities. Now is the time to divest from traditional research methods and invest in equitable and innovative approaches to support pain researchers in advancing the science and improving the lives of people with pain.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Journal of Pain  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 28245323
  • Author List

  • Booker SQ; Bartley EJ; Powell-Roach K; Palit S; Morais C; Thompson OJ; Cruz-Almeida Y; Fillingim RB
  • Start Page

  • 1578
  • End Page

  • 1585
  • Volume

  • 22
  • Issue

  • 12