African Americans Gaining Trust  in Cleveland Clinic African American Biobank Launched by Dr. Charles Modlin

Jun 1, 2019 | African American Biobank, Cleveland Clinics

TrialSite News frequently covers the challenge of greater community of color participation in clinical research.  We do this because diversity in clinical research is of vital interest to the research community and the ongoing progress of medicine. African Americans from a historical perspective have good reason to be skeptical, but past grievances make way for future participation—a prime example is an exciting amount of activity in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ideastream recently covered the positive momentum evidenced by Cleveland Clinic’s African American Biobank.

What is Cleveland Clinic African American Biobank?

The brainchild of urologist Dr. Charles Modlin,  it was specifically created to collect specimens from African American makes—and it took several years to get the initiative off the ground.  A big cause for the lengthy ramp up was the simple fact that researchers nationwide struggle to draw in the participation of people of color—especially when invasive procedures are involved in any sort of clinical research.  Cleveland Clinic uses the Lerner Institute for storage of blood and specimens.

Dr. Modlin came up with the idea for an African -American biobank after he launched a minority men’s health fair 16 years ago.  Dr.  Modlin suspects this is the only biobank in the United States dedicated specifically to obtaining samples from African Americans.

He notes “ We want to make those samples available to any researcher here at Cleveland Clinic, any investigator worldwide, who wants to dedicate a portion of their research to eliminating health care disparities, to investigating the pathogenesis of a lot of these diseases that we see are more commonly afflicting African-American makes.”  An example is prostate cancer where black males are 60% more likely than white males to develop—or for example stoke: black males are twice as likely than white males to die from a stroke.

Why are African Americans Concerned about Research?

From residual elements of institutional racism to specific incidents such as the Tuskegee experiments where African American men were exploited for government (tax payer funded)-sponsored syphilis experiments, there is a natural and understandable mistrust of clinical research among the community. This exists to this day and represents a deep and profound distrust of the government, government-funded, and to some extent corporate-funded research.

TrialSite News conducted its own survey on this topic in the Houston, Texas region with some interesting results and commentary.

Lead Research/Investigator

Dr. Charles Modlin

Follow the link to source for more information on this interesting and important topic.


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