Vidya Surti and LAIPDEP

About Me

Hi everyone! My name is Vidya Surti. I am thrilled to have been selected as a Brackenridge Fellow this summer! I am a rising sophomore at Pitt. My major is currently undeclared; however, I hope to double major in Neuroscience and Anthropology with a Certificate in Global Health. I am originally from North Texas and moved to the Greater Pittsburgh Region with my family and our dog, Duke. I am passionate about creative problem solving that tackles real-world issues, specifically in health contexts. Through this Brackenridge Fellowship, I hope to envision and shape my budding project from an interdisciplinary perspective.

My Project: Latin American Indigenous Digital Education Platform (LAIPDEP)

I am conducting my independent research project with the help of Dr. Gabby Yearwood in the Department of Anthropology, educating myself on cultural histories, medical anthropologies, and readings of chronic pain in Latin American Indigenous Communities. Furthermore, Board Members from Partners for Patients NGO and BlueCloud for HealthCarePoint will advise me through the realization process of my project.

LAIPDEP stands for Latin American Indigenous Pain Digital Education Platform. So, I am creating a novel digital educational platform for Latin American Indigenous peoples that suffer from chronic pain. For some context, Latin American indigenous (LAI) communities suffer from disproportionate rates of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Disease (RMD) chronic pain. A study conducted in 2016 highlighted a 34.5% prevalence rate of RMDs out of 6155 LAI peoples from eight communities in three countries1. More current research tackling RMDs in specific LAI communities reported individual prevalence rates ranging from 40-60%2-7. Poor infrastructure, low accessibility to healthcare, and widespread health illiteracy contribute to LAI in-access to chronic pain management.

Working together with Partners for Patients and BlueCloud, we would introduce this novel culturally relevant pain management mechanism to remote LAI communities. LAIPDEP would contain a culturally pertinent pain scale, a pain journal, educational pain modules, and a course on cultural sensitivity and context for healthcare providers, anthropologists, and researchers. In the future, I hope that LAIPDEP can be applied and executed in the future to tackle chronic RMD pain in LAI communities.

Brackenridge Fellowship and Future Professional Goals

In the future, I want to be a culturally accountable pain physician and policy shaper who researches global health outcomes for chronic pain management. The Brackenridge Fellowship will help develop my goals through three modes. First, the Brackenridge will allow me to interact with a distinct scholar community and learn through interdisciplinary communication. Next, this fellowship will teach me to communicate my research efficiently and concisely to a wide range of audiences. Finally, I will learn research methods to use for the further implementation of LAIPDEP. In essence, LAIPDEP is interdisciplinary and crosses physical, creative, and healthcare boundaries. I hope that the Brackenridge Fellowship heightens the outcomes of this project.

  1. Peláez-Ballestas I, Granados Y, Quintana R, et al. Epidemiology and socioeconomic impact of the rheumatic diseases on indigenous people: an invisible syndemic public health problem. Ann Rheum Dis. 2018;77(10):1397-1404. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-213625
  2. Julián-Santiago F, García-García C, García-Olivera I, Goycochea-Robles MV, Pelaez-Ballestas I. Epidemiology of rheumatic diseases in Mixtec and Chontal indigenous communities in Mexico: a cross-sectional community-based study. Clin Rheumatol. 2016;35(S1):35-42. doi:10.1007/s10067-015-3148-y
  3. Obregón-Ponce A, Iraheta I, García-Ferrer H, Mejia B, García-Kutzbach A. Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Diseases in Guatemala, Central America: The COPCORD Study of 2 Populations. JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. 2012;18(4):170-174. doi:10.1097/RHU.0b013e3182583803
  4. Granados Y, Rosillo C, Cedeño L, et al. Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and rheumatic disease in the Warao, Kari’ña, and Chaima indigenous populations of Monagas State, Venezuela. Clin Rheumatol. 2016;35(S1):53-61. doi:10.1007/s10067-016-3194-0
  5. Juárez V, Quintana R, Crespo ME, et al. Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and rheumatic diseases in an Argentinean indigenous Wichi community. Clin Rheumatol. 2021;40(1):75-83. doi:10.1007/s10067-020-05130-3
  6. Quintana R, Silvestre AMR, Goñi M, et al. Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and rheumatic diseases in the indigenous Qom population of Rosario, Argentina. Clin Rheumatol. 2016;35(S1):5-14. doi:10.1007/s10067-016-3192-2
  7. Guevara SV, Feicán EA, Peláez I, et al. Prevalence of Rheumatic Diseases and Quality of Life in the Saraguro Indigenous People, Ecuador: A Cross-sectional Community-Based Study. J Clin Rheumatol. 2020;26(7S):S139-S147. doi:10.1097/RHU.0000000000001131

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