Interview with 2020 HSF Danby Grant Recipient Dr. Lauren Orenstein
October 4, 2022
Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to study HS?
I am originally from Atlanta and currently practice dermatology at Emory University and Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. I have had have privilege of caring for many individuals with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) am moved by my patients’ stories and the many ways that HS impacts their lives. Pain is one of the most important factors that affects quality of life in those living with HS, and so I have been interested in learning more about HS pain and developing strategies for managing HS pain.
What was the goal of the project you proposed for the Danby grant?
The goal of the project was to study patterns of health care utilization and opioid prescription use among patients with hidradenitis suppurativa.
What was learned from this project?
This grant directly funded the development of a data set that includes health utilization patterns, prescription medications, and laboratory values for 3,545 HS patients who received care at Emory or Grady between 2014-2020. Analyses are ongoing, but some of the initial findings from this data set are that access to dermatologic care was low among patients with HS and that patients seen in the emergency department and hospital had the lowest rates of receiving subsequent outpatient dermatology care.
In addition to the project that was directly supported by the grant, the Danby Award also gave me the opportunity to work with mentor Dr. Amit Garg to study the incidence of long-term opioid use among patients with hidradenitis suppurativa. In this study, we found that the risk of long-term opioid use was 53% greater among patients with HS compared to controls after controlling for confounders.
What do these findings mean for HS patients?
These findings highlight the need for strategies that improve HS pain management and reduce the risks associated with long-term opioid use among patients with HS.
How has the award supported your career?
This award provided important preliminary data and mentorship opportunities that served as building blocks for my NIH Career Development Award, which focuses on understanding pain phenotypes in HS, developing clinically meaningful outcome measures for pain in HS trials, and developing strategies for mitigating HS-associated pain.
If you would like to read Dr. Orenstein’s work developing an algorithm for treating HS pain, you can download her publication in JAAD for free here.