Letter to the editor by Research!America VP of Communications Suzanne Ffolkes published in The New York Times in response to article, “Labs Are Told to Start Including a Neglected Variable: Females” (May 14, 2014)
In addressing gender bias in biomedical and clinical research, it’s also important to close gaps in clinical trial participation among minorities to understand how different segments of the population respond to various treatments. When asked if they or someone in their family had ever participated in a trial, only 17 percent of Hispanics, 15 percent of African-Americans and 11 percent of Asian-Americans said yes in polling commissioned by Research!America, a nonprofit advocacy alliance.
This is primarily rooted in a history of distrust and lack of awareness, but attitudes appear to be evolving as more minorities express a willingness to participate in trials if recommended by a doctor or a health care professional.
Boosting enrollment among women and ethnic groups is critical to achieving better health outcomes for all Americans.