Faculty Scholars Program

Keren Ladin, PhD

Class of 2020 Tufts University
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Scholar Project

The Moral Relevance of Social Connectedness for Allocation of Scarce Health Resources

Grant Cycle: 2016-2017

Although social support is routinely assessed during transplant candidate evaluation, we hypothesize that inconsistent definitions of social support and evaluation procedures may result in unequal treatment of patients with limited support. We hypothesize that clinicians have unconscious bias in favor of more socially connectedness patients, and that this bias will be significantly associated with waitlist decisions. Clinicians may experience moral distress and cognitive dissonance, which occurs when actions (using a discriminatory criterion) do not align with values (treating all patients fairly). Perspective-taking interventions, more supportive center-level and Medicaid policies, and reforming the social support criterion may be needed to reduce this source of bias and ensure equal access to solid organ transplantation.

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