By Israel Rocha, CEO, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance
September 15 marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanics who have enriched America’s history. It’s also an important time to consider how this community can be further empowered to make important contributions, particularly in the future of health care.
Research demonstrates that certain diseases disproportionately impact the Hispanic community, including diabetes, liver cancer, cervical cancer and HIV/AIDS. Clinical trials help researchers find better ways to diagnose, prevent and treat these diseases and others. However, Hispanics are significantly underrepresented in clinical trials. Despite representing 16 percent of the U.S. population, Hispanics comprise only 1 percent of clinical trial participants.
Given this historic underrepresentation, there is tremendous opportunity to boost clinical trial participation within diverse patient populations. According to a July 2013 study by Research!America:
- More than 40 percent of Hispanics greatly admire clinical trial participants.
- More than 2/3 of Hispanics would be willing to share health information to help researchers find better ways to prevent and treat disease.
- Nearly half of the Hispanics polled rate a physician’s recommendation to participate in a clinical trial as very important.
PhRMA and the National Minority Quality Forum recently launched the I’m In campaign to increase diversity in clinical trials. Organizations such as patient advocacy groups, provider organizations, healthcare facilities, universities and biopharmaceutical companies have joined the campaign as dedicated champions by committing to spread the word about the importance of clinical trial participation, especially within historically underrepresented populations.
At Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, we are fully committed to the I’m In campaign and providing our community in the Rio Grande Valley, TX the finest quality healthcare. Our families, friends and loved ones deserve the opportunity to receive novel therapies for chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. As such it is of the utmost importance that our Hispanic community be part of the research conducted to address these disparities.
It’s going to take all of us to help ensure clinical trials are more representative of the changing demographics in the U.S. We encourage you to join us in saying “I’m In.”