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Consortium hopes to make clinical trials more diverse

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Second of two parts

Over the past 20 years, the com­bined efforts of Congress, along with the offices of women’s health at FDA and NIH, have increased the participation of women in clinical tri­als. Minorities, however, still account for less than 5% of clinical trial partici­pants. In fact, minorities “are not hard to reach; they are hardly reached” (Lu Chen, HealthDay News, March 2014).

The lack of trust with doctors and health officials that developed from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study still lin­gers. Not surprisingly, minority pa­tients are more likely to choose phy­sicians of their own race or ethnicity. In addition, minorities of low socio­economic status have transportation, babysitting and job issues, making compliance with frequent study vis­its more challenging. Taking time off puts them at risk for losing their jobs. Offering flexible hours and advocat­ing for higher stipends (within GCP guidelines) helps participants work around socioeconomic issues.

The Consortium of Diversity in Clinical Research (CDCR) is mak­ing a difference by developing aware­ness and trust, mentoring minority physicians and recruiting minority subjects. CDCR sites such as Chat­tanooga Medical Research (CMR) in Tennessee, Advances in Health (AIH) in Houston and AGA Clinical Trials in Miami are increasing diver­sity through education and awareness development. CMR has partnered with local high schools and colleges to educate students not only about clinical research, but also career paths within the industry. AIH holds semi­nars with the Black Nurses Associa­tion and participates in community outreach ministries within minority neighborhoods. AGA is active with the American Diabetes Association and participates in local health fairs and events.

Three other CDCR sites—Atlanta Premier and Research 1, both in At­lanta, along with Quality Clinical Research in Omaha, Neb.—are re­cruiting and mentoring minority phy­sicians as PIs in their networks. The consortium is attempting to make a difference in increasing diversity rep­resentation in clinical trials.


Written by Guest Writer Melissa Poindexter. Poindexter, R.N., B.S.N., is president of Advances in Health (AIH), an independent clinical research center in Houston that specializes in women’s health. AIH has collaborated in phase I-IV trials since 1998. She is a member of the Consortium for Diversity in Clinical Research (CDCR), ACRP, DIA and SCRS.

This article was reprinted from Volume 22, Issue 09, 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.comSubscribe >>

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