Confronting Racism in Pain Research: A Call to Action

Calia A. Morais, Edwin N. Aroke, Janelle E. Letzen, Claudia M. Campbell, Anna M. Hood, Mary R. Janevic, Vani A. Mathur, Ericka N. Merriwether, Burel R. Goodin, Staja Q. Booker, Lisa C. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Racism is an established health determinant across the world. In this 3-part series, we argue that a disregard of how racism manifests in pain research practices perpetuates pain inequities and slows the progression of the field. Our goal in part-1 is to provide a historical and theoretical background of racism as a foundation for understanding how an antiracism pain research framework - which focuses on the impact of racism, rather than “race,” on pain outcomes - can be incorporated across the continuum of pain research. We also describe cultural humility as a lifelong self-awareness process critical to ending generalizations and successfully applying antiracism research practices through the pain research continuum. In part-2 of the series, we describe research designs that perpetuate racism and provide reframes. Finally, in part-3, we emphasize the implications of an antiracism framework for research dissemination, community-engagement practices and diversity in research teams. Through this series, we invite the pain research community to share our commitment to the active process of antiracism, which involves both self-examination and re-evaluation of research practices shifting our collective work towards eliminating racialized injustices in our approach to pain research. Perspective: We call on the pain community to dismantle racism in our research practices. As the first paper of the 3-part series, we introduce dimensions of racism and its effect on pain inequities. We also describe the imperative role of cultural humility in adopting antiracism pain research practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-892
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Racism
  • antiracism
  • critical race theory
  • cultural humility
  • pain disparities
  • pain inequities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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