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Why doctors are crucial to increasing minority populations in clinical research

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In the age of personalized medicine, it seems obvious that a clinical trial studying a new medicine should in­clude representatives from the entire population to whom it may be pre­scribed. However, for many studies currently being conducted, this is not the case. While globalization has broadened the overall diversity of participation in clinical trials, in the U.S. the patients taking part in trials are not characteristic of the popula­tion at large.

In the U.S., Hispanics make up 16% of the population, yet only 1% partici­pate in clinical research, and African Americans comprise 12% of the popu­lation, yet only 5% participate in clini­cal research.

A July 2013 Research America study points to the important role of healthcare providers in talking to their patients about clinical trials. More than two-thirds of Americans say they would be likely to partici­pate in a trial if it were recommend­ed by their doctor, but only 22% say a doctor or other healthcare profes­sional has ever talked to them about medical research. Approximately one-third of Hispanics, Asians and African Americans said healthcare providers have the greatest respon­sibility in educating the public about clinical trials.

The mission of the Emerson Clini­cal Research Institute is just that—to offer underserved patients the op­portunity to participate in clinical research.

Physicians have an opportunity to educate patients on their healthcare options and to share with them all of the possibilities and answer their questions, so they can make the best educated decision. Part of this edu­cational conversation with patients should include the introduction of clinical research taking place to ad­dress the conditions they are cur­rently experiencing or attempting to prevent.

If doctors don’t tell patients what options are available, who else will?

 

Written by Guest Writer Dr. Fabian Sandoval. Sandoval is CEO and medical director of the Emerson Clinical Research Institute in Falls Church, VA. He has more than 18 years of bench to bedside research experience. He holds a B.S. in molecular and cellular biology from Marymount University and a Doctorate of Medicine (Medical Surgeon Degree) from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, School of Medicine.

This article was reprinted from Volume 22, Issue 04, of The CenterWatch Monthly, an industry leading publication providing hard-hitting, authoritative business and financial coverage of the clinical research space. The Action Items section features short columns  focusing on actionable or how-to advice from clinical trial professionals. To submit an Action Item, please contact editorial@centerwatch.com. Subscribe >>

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