Spark Grants

Congratulations to our 2020
Spark Grant Award recipients!

Health EquityReducing Bias in De-escalation of Emergency Department Patients

Assessing how Current Practices and Attitudes Lead to Greater Use of Restraints in Black and Hispanic patients

The murder of George Floyd highlighted how members of U.S. Black and Brown communities are disproportionately and repeatedly subjected to excessive force by law enforcement agencies. Use of physical and chemical restraints remains common in emergency settings, despite significant risk of harm. Preliminary data across over a dozen Massachusetts hospital settings suggests that Black and Hispanic patients are physically restrained significantly more often in emergency departments compared to white or non-Hispanic patients.

The recipients of the Spark Grants for HealthEquity will design and implement a study protocol to meticulously assess and document how current practices and inherent biases may lead to more frequent restraint of black and brown patients. For example, recipients will examine how provider behavior and attitudes may escalate patient agitation and spark the use of forced restraint, increasing the possibility of a violent or harmful outcome.

Project Lead

Farah Z. Dadabhoy, MD

Project Co-Lead

Anita Chary, MD

Project Co-Lead

Melanie Molina, MD


Jossie Carreras Tartak; Vanni Rodriguez; Alex Zirulnik; Katie Dickerson; Andrew Eyre; Regan Marsh; Mike Wilson; Candice Jones; Aline Snietka; Zeyu Li (Statistician)