Community poverty level influences time to first pediatric rheumatology appointment in Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

for the CARRA Registry Investigators,

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: The impact of social determinants of health on children with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA) is poorly understood. Prompt initiation of treatment for pJIA is important to prevent disease morbidity; however, a potential barrier to early treatment of pJIAs is delayed presentation to a pediatric rheumatologist. We examined the impact of community poverty level, a key social determinant of health, on time from patient reported symptom onset to first pediatric rheumatology visit among pJIA patients enrolled in the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) Registry. Methods: This is a cohort study of pJIA patients in the CARRA registry who lived in the United States from July 2015–February 2020. The primary exposure was community poverty level derived by geocoding patient addresses. The primary outcome was time to first rheumatology appointment. Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to analyze time to first rheumatologist visit, stratified by community poverty and family income. Log-rank tests were used to identify differences between groups. Adjusted cox proportional-hazards models were used to determine the relationship between community poverty level and time from onset of disease symptoms to date first seen by rheumatologist. Results: A total of 1684 patients with pJIA meeting study inclusion and exclusion criteria were identified. Median age of onset of pJIA was 7 years (IQR 3, 11), 79% were female, 17.6% identified as minority race and/or ethnicity, and 19% were from communities with ≥20% community poverty level. Kaplan-Meier analysis by community poverty level (< 20% vs ≥20%) yielded no significant differences with time to initial presentation to a pediatric rheumatologist (p = 0.6). The Cox proportional hazards model showed that patients with ≥20% community poverty level were 19% less likely (adjusted HR 0.81, 95% CI 0.67–0.99, p = 0.038) to be seen by a rheumatologist compared to patients with < 20% community poverty level, at the same time point, after adjusting for sex, race/ethnicity, insurance, education level, morning stiffness, RF status, and baseline CHAQ. Conclusion: In this study of pJIA patients in the CARRA registry, increased community poverty level is associated with longer time to presentation to a pediatric rheumatologist after symptom onset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number122
JournalPediatric Rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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