Is a Lack of Diversity Delaying Cures?

Minorities Are Severely Underrepresented in Clinical Trials

By IGI Global on Mar 2, 2023
Illustration of a diverse group of people Historically, diversity within US-based clinical trial populations has been an issue. A study of 230 vaccine trials from 2011 through 2020 found that of the 219,555 participants, white individuals were overrepresented nearly 78% of the time. In the same trials, black individuals were represented only 10.6% of the time, and Hispanic participants were represented just 11.6% of the time.
The importance of diversity in clinical trials comes into play when we consider how different diseases affect different populations in terms of age, gender, race, and ethnicity. Using data that is not representative of all patients hinders the advancement of treatments and cures for diseases.
More research is needed to understand how to achieve equitable healthcare by addressing disparities among underrepresented populations. The established reference book, Contemporary Issues in Global Medicine and Moving Toward International Healthcare Equity (ISBN: 9781799884903) published by IGI Global and led by experts in international healthcare with decades of combined experience, explores contemporary issues in international medicine, examines the impact of civil unrest on population health, and provides practical strategies for providing clinical care in low resource settings.
Contemporary Issues in Global Medicine and Moving Toward International Healthcare Equity
Profs. Nick Comninellis (University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA) and Steven D. Waldman (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, USA)
©2022 | 463 pgs. | ISBN13: 9781799884903
  • Covers Topics such as Disabilities, Low Resource Settings, and Trauma Care
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Rebecca Johnson
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Hear from the Contributing Researchers:
Rebecca R. Johnson, Director of Clinical Trial Recruitment at Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company (SPARC), USA and Michelle Lee D'Abundo of Seton Hall University, USA provide context for this ongoing issue, saying, "For three decades now, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has mandated that members of diverse groups and their subpopulations (distinguished by racial, ethnic, and/or cultural heritage) are included as participants in NIH-funded clinical research. While not mandated, the FDA has also enacted many initiatives aimed at improving representation in clinical trials. Expectations for industry to diversify clinical trials has recently gained more momentum with the Food and Drug Omnibus Reform Act of 2022 (FDORA) being signed into law. We have been ‘admiring this problem’ long enough and this law holds promise to expedite the transition from talk to action. Industry will need to be ready to proactively plan for enrolling clinically relevant populations across their clinical development programs – this is no longer an expectation; it is a requirement."
In recent years, healthcare personnel in the United States have voiced the need to enhance diversity within clinical trial groups to better represent the demographics of a specific disease and/or reflect the broader US population. In December of 2022, the US Congress took steps towards improving clinical trial diversity through policy reform that requires sponsors of most clinical studies to submit a diversity action plan to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Chapter 17 of the book, “Improving Clinical Trial Diversity: The Impending Role of Technology-Oriented Strategies Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic,” is authored by Dr. Rebecca R. Johnson, the Clinical Trials Director for Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company (SPARC), and Dr. Michelle Lee D’Abundo, a professor of interprofessional health sciences and health administration at Seton Hall University. The chapter explores how clinical research stakeholders can adapt their traditional approaches to recruitment, research conduct, and design sparked by the current healthcare crisis through technology-oriented strategies designed to increase diverse representation in clinical trials.
More Titles Covering Healthcare Equity
“In the chapter, solutions are provided for improving clinical trial diversity during times of social distancing through adapting virtual methods for communicating and engaging with potential and current clinical trial participants. The inspiration for this chapter was to provide recommendations for addressing disparities among historically underrepresented and underserved populations in clinical trial research. Suggestions include both a centralized and local perspective across a participant’s clinical trial journey – from awareness through continuous engagement following trial participation. The recommendations outlined are both novel and practical at the same time, which may provide clinical research stakeholders with options for creating sustainable change to promote more inclusive trials.” – Dr. Rebecca R. Johnson (SPARC, USA) and Dr. Michelle Lee D'Abundo (Seton Hall University, USA)

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