Lack of Diversity In Clinical Research Merits Another Study– Really?

Apr 5, 2019 | Clinical Trials, Minority Participation in Clinical Trials, Opinion

Bloomberg Law reports on recent activity on Capitol Hill involving clinical trials barriers and minorities, the poor, women and aging.  Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md) would ensure the GAO study the barriers at the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration,  and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

TrialSite News usually commits to a balanced but straight-talk perspective.  Here, we lean a little more to the latter rather than the former.  There are literally hundreds of studies out there as to why various groups don’t participate in clinical research. TrialSite News even commissioned a study in the Houston area focusing on African Americans. The health system (including government branches) are generally not trusted by ethnic minorities and those in the lower income strata. Countless studies have evidenced the need for bridge building; trust building; more engagement; employing community care coordination models and many more.  Congress will spend money on yet another report that delineates what we already know—that economic status and ethnicity are correlated to certain levels of mistrust with the government systems including health care. We all know. There is a legacy of challenges African Americans face, and are all to aware of. This is just one example. Cummings should rather allocate some of his aids to read one of the hundreds of reports on this topic.  Mind you there are many decent recommendations for ways  health systems and government agencies can better engage in targeted communities for trust building, community stakeholder development and ultimately greater participation. This approach would save tremendous amounts of time but would require Congress to actually do something about the problem. It is far easier to just launch another initiative to study it. Reports are easier to product than real change.

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