Person-Centered Equity (PCE) Lab
The PCE Lab conducts research on person-centered care with a focus on the needs of the most vulnerable groups. Our vision is a world where every person has access to responsive and respectful care regardless of who they are, who they know, and where they go.

What is person-centered care?

Person-centered care refers to care provided in a way that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions. It entails providing timely care, treating people with dignity, providing sufficient information for people to make informed decisions about their care, providing emotional and social support, and valuing their individual needs, preferences, and values. Person-centered care is a core domain of quality of care and is critical to meeting the diverse needs of diverse people.

We use the term “person-centered” over “patient-centered” since “patient” tends to objectify and reduce the person to a mere recipient of medical services, one who is acted on. Person-centered care highlights the importance of “knowing the person behind the patient – as a human being with reason, will, feelings, and needs – in order to engage the person as an active partner in their care” (Eckman et al, 2011). The term person-centered also includes family and significant others which is very relevant in reproductive health, where partners and family members are often co-decision-makers in whether and how to use care.

A focus on equity

While person-centered care needs to improve globally, people of low socioeconomic status often have the poorest experiences. In the U.S., people of color, and particularly Black women, disproportionately experience poor person-centered care. Disparities by age and ethnicity have also been documented. There are also disparities based on where people receive care. For example, women who gave birth at public hospitals tend to report poorer person-centered care than those who gave birth in private facilities. It is therefore critical that research and interventions on person-centered care address these inequities.