Black Participation Low in Clinical Trials

May Contribute to High Mortality Rates for Some Diseases

AFRO: November 27, 2013


Despite many breakthroughs in medicine, health outcomes for African Americans continue to be disproportionately bleak. Blacks experience higher incidences of certain diseases such as diabetes and hypertension and have higher mortality rates from stroke, heart attack, breast cancer and some other maladies, data shows.

The lack of African-American participation in clinical trials, where valuable research is conducted that can cut down on the incidences of certain diseases and save lives, may be contributing to the higher mortality rate, experts said.

“In the United States, we are the world leaders in understanding the mechanisms of diseases and understanding how to prevent diseases before they start,” said Dr. Stephen Thomas, director of the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity and one of the nation’s leading scholars in the effort to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. “But, while the overall life span of Americans has improved over time, that improvement has not applied to everyone. Blacks and Latinos have been left out.”

A big part of the problem is the paucity of minority participation in clinical trials and research, health advocates said. Read more