Minorities Don’t Participate in Clinical Trials, Here’s Why
I have lived with psoriasis for over two decades, and I am heavily involved in research for psoriasis. The one thing I notice is that minorities aren’t well represented in research, especially for psoriasis. A study on psoriasis and ethnicity reports that the prevalence of psoriasis in African Americans is 1%, less than one percent in other ethnicities, and 3% in Caucasians. I often wonder if the lower numbers reported for African Americans and other people of color are due to the lack of representation and participation in research and clinical trials.
Although more representation of ethnicities is needed, there are several factors to the lack of representation. One fact is skepticism for the medical community among minorities. Throughout history, there have been several moments in time where people of color were used in research against their will or under dishonest premises. These scientific experiments left many with adverse residual effects that affected generations of families for years to come. This past history has created a long term distrust for the medical community among people of color, making it a challenge to recruit minorities for clinical trials in today’s time, causing a lack of adequate representation and research data for people of color.
What Happens When Minorities aren’t Represented?
When minorities don’t participate in clinical trials, the medical community doesn’t gain an understanding of what we need to advance effective medicines. For example, I have scalp psoriasis, many of the treatments for it are shampoos that you have to use every day. As an African American woman, I don’t wash my hair that frequently and over-washing my hair can cause dryness and breakage. This lack of knowledge among the medical community means that I will be prescribed a medication that has requirements that I will not comply too, lowering my chances of treatment success. This is just one example, but there are many ways a lack of representation can negatively impact treatments for minorities.
Bridging the Gap
Citruslabs is an organization on a mission to streamline patient recruitment and retention to change the future of medical research for the better. The organization works to ensure diversity in clinical trials through recruitment services. According to Citruslabs, 86% of clinical trials fail to meet their recruitment targets. As a result, 80% of clinical trials are delayed significantly. Lack of representation can also present data that isn’t realistic or helpful for all people. Diversity isn’t limited to just color. Research lacks diversity for several subgroups, including age, cultural background, gender, and more. Minorities becoming involved in clinical trials can pave the way to bridging the gap between underrepresented communities and effective treatments.
Why Should People Participate in Trials?
- Trials help find cures and new treatment methods for illnesses/health conditions.
- Without clinical trials, there would be no innovation in medicine.
- You will be part of finding new treatments that can save millions of lives.
- You will have access to the best minds in medicine.
- You will have access to better healthcare. By taking part in a trial, you will have some of the best medical professionals taking care of your health, free of charge.
- By taking part in a clinical trial, you will get access to often the best possible (maybe even life-saving) treatment that may otherwise not be available for you.
Although there are many advantages to clinical trials, participants should also be aware of the downside. I suggest speaking with your doctor about the risk of participating in a clinical trial. When trying to determine if you want to be apart of a clinical trial, the best thing to do is to determine if the advantages outweigh the risk and make your decision based upon those factors.
This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.