Understanding Racial Disparities in Wound Imaging

DMCA.com Protection Status

Alton R. Johnson, Jr, DPM, DABPM, FACPM, FASPS, CWSP

In this interview with Dr. Johnson, he describes the use of imaging technology in wound care and how clinicians should be aware of the way skin pigmentation may be evaluated differently/ incorrectly with these systems.

Understanding Racial Disparities in Wound Imaging from HMP on Vimeo.


My name is Alton Johnson. I'm a DPM wound care specialist that currently practices at University of Michigan as a podiatrist and wound care specialist for the hospital system, both inpatient and outpatient care.

How is awareness of racial disparities in wound care essential, specifically in wound imaging?

Luckily enough, at the SAWC, I have a panel discussion tackling the conversation of racial disparities in wound imaging, particularly in wound imaging. The reason why we're tackling this particular topic is because with imaging, artificial intelligence, there is a discrepancy when it comes to skin types. So it doesn't necessarily mean race, but actual skin pigmentation. So that actually, you need to, as a specialty and then as a company who creates these devices, be able to have diverse patient populations involved in the research studies or the actual development of the technology. So that's essentially what we're discussing in that particular panel discussion.

What can clinicians do today to help address these racial disparities?

When it comes to addressing these disparities as a provider or as the wound care provider or specialist for these type of patients, it's essentially educating yourself on the awareness of it in the fact that if you are using a point-of-care system, such as just plain photography or if you're using demography or fluorescent imaging, just being aware that there are nuances that make the device not fully capable of seeing discrepancies in skin of color. So that's one of the ways to empower yourself as well.

And also just understanding when it comes to those individuals as themselves, so not just as the wound, but actual social determinants of health, knowing the actual socioeconomic status of the patients that you're catering to. And it's like I said, once again, it's not necessarily based on race, it's just what goes on with those actual patients. So it doesn't necessarily even have to be skin tone or what's going on, but also being cognizant of a patient's social determinants of health. And then, there is studies out there that show Hispanic and Black populations, when it comes to wound care itself, are disenfranchised, so that's another discrepancy, and look at ways as a provider to read literature and read studies on how to empower those patients so they do believe in the science.

The views and opinions expressed in this vlog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, HMP Global, its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.

Recommended for You

  • May 31st, 2022

    Chronic and nonhealing wounds are a worldwide issue and are becoming more difficult to treat. In the United States alone, according to Medicare, over 8 million Americans have chronic wounds that cost the national health care system between $18.1 and $96.8 billion per year. If standard treatment...

  • March 25th, 2022

    By Becky Naughton, RN, MSN, FNP-C, WCC

    I’m sure we’ve all hit that point in our wound care careers where we’ve had that one patient who’s wound just doesn’t seem to respond to any treatment. You’ve tried everything that you can think of—state-of-the-art dressings, advanced...

  • July 22nd, 2022

    Alex M. Aningalan, MSN, RN, CWON, WCC

    Chronic wound conditions are prevalent across health care systems globally and often result in economic and humanistic burdens on clinicians and patients.1 Moreover, pressure injuries, among of the more common types of chronic...

Important Notice: The contents of the website such as text, graphics, images, and other materials contained on the website ("Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content is not intended to substitute manufacturer instructions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or product usage. Refer to the Legal Notice for express terms of use.