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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe >>