Minorities specifically, African-Americans are clearly an underrepresented population with regard to participating in clinical trials. Even though there is a basic understanding and awareness about a trial, African- Americans are still reluctant to participate; in my opinion it is because of past incidences of unethical practices, for example the Tuskegee incident, transportation issues, lack of health insurance, not wanting to feel like a guinea pig, risks out weight the benefits, inability to take off from work, and the all important question, “what’s in it for me” may contribute to the lack of participation. Unfortunately, minorities suffer disproportionately from such diseases as heart disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and certain cancers; according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “death due to heart disease is more than 40% higher for African-Americans, American Indians, and Alaska natives than that of whites. Pacific islanders experience more cases of hepatitis and tuberculosis than do whites. Women of Vietnamese origin suffer from cervical cancer at nearly five times the rate for white women”. Participation of minorities in clinical trials can help the researcher learn about potential differences and perhaps creating a better understanding of the importance of different treatment regimens
Standard recruiting efforts/methods such as advertisement campaigns, outreach initiatives, direct-mail and referrals may not be enough, acceptable or even appealing to the underrepresented; individual communication may be the method that may invoke more trust and greater participation of minorities; it is important that recruitment professionals and clinicians be mindful of this so they can better tailor their recruitment strategies in an effort to improve minority participation in their clinical trial.
The Office of Minority Health(OMH) was established in 1986 for the purpose of improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities. Go to http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov to get detailed information on what OMH does.
” the role of a clinical trial is to ensure that advances in science are fully benefiting as many people as possible”. In my opinion, society expects the timely introduction of new drugs that are safe and effective; understanding how diseases affect different groups is undoubtedly a challenge without the participation of the underrepresented population.
This Blog represents solely my opinion and not that of Kelly Services