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While people of color make up nearly half of the United States population, only a small percentage of them choose to participate in clinical trials – leading to underrepresentation, distrust in the healthcare system, and insufficient data. Individuals in minority groups are vital to the relevance and outcomes of these trials and Acclinate is working to make a positive change. 

Minority participation in clinical trials is vital for a variety of reasons that we will discuss in this article. One benefit is that it helps break down barriers and emphasize representation in these trials, but more importantly, having diversity in clinical trials helps minority communities make more informed health decisions. In some cases, it can be the difference between life and death.

Before understanding why minority participation in clinical trials is critical, it’s important to recognize why it has been such a big problem within minority communities. 

Distrust in Healthcare and Clinical Trials 

There are a variety of contributing factors, but one of the most prominent is distrust. Communities of color  generally have a deep distrust of the healthcare system because of a dark history of injustice, inequality, and underrepresentation. 

Building trust and moving forward is only possible when these concerns are recognized and validated. One way Acclinate is trying to build trust is by leveraging it’s #NOWINCLUDED platform where people can go to get information on clinical trials, drug safety, treatment, and more. 

When people are educated, they are empowered to make informed decisions for their health as well as participate in clinical trials. ‍

Why Does Minority Participation in Clinical Trials Matter? 

Breaking Down Barriers 

Although minorities make up nearly half of the United States population, they only make up about 11% of clinical trial participants according to the Mayo Clinic. This is a huge problem for many different reasons, one being that there is a major barrier that can come down if people of color are more comfortable and willing to participate in clinical trials. 

When minorities feel empowered to participate in clinical trials and take a more involved approach in their health, these barriers come down and everyone experiences better healthcare options. 

Building Trust

As we discussed earlier, trust is one of the biggest reasons minority groups choose not to participate in clinical trials. As people of color find information on clinical trials and make informed decisions, they will empower their peers and family members to do the same. Additionally, as healthcare companies are becoming more transparent about their practices and more available in all communities, that trust will continue to build. 

More minority groups will feel comfortable joining clinical trials as they see their peers and family members do the same, which will create a solid foundation for more inclusive research practices across the board. 

Representation and Accurate Data

It is no secret that people of color are underrepresented in nearly every way, including healthcare. Clinical trials test the safety and efficacy of drugs and treatments, but if minorities aren’t represented in those studies, they can’t make informed decisions on whether the drug or treatment is right for them.   

It is critical for people of color and minority groups to participate in clinical trials to get accurate data. Different races have different genetic makeup. If one race isn’t included in a clinical trial for a drug or treatment, it excludes a major part of the population from knowing how that drug or treatment will affect them. Inequality in healthcare has been going on for far too long and it is vital to make sure every race and minority is included when conducting clinical trials. 

It Can Save Lives 

Excluding minorities from clinical trials can actually be dangerous. As mentioned above, when one race is not represented in a clinical trial, an entire community has no way of knowing if a treatment or drug is the best option for them. It is vital for anyone considering a treatment plan to do research beforehand. You want to read the studies, consult with doctors, understand potential side effects, and come to a conclusion you feel confident in. 

When minorities are underrepresented in studies and trials, there is no way for them to make a good, informed decision. They could decide to go through with the treatment plan and hope for the best, which could result in one of two things. It could either work or it could be detrimental to their health. Or they could decide not to go through with a treatment plan which could be a good decision, or it could put them more at risk. 

No one should have to take a gamble when it comes to their health. Everyone deserves the resources to be able to make an informed decision, and without diversity in clinical trials, it is not possible. 

In short, there is no clear path to success without diversity in clinical trials. 

What is the Solution? 

Now that we have discussed the importance of diversity in clinical trials, how do we find a solution? Although it might be a long road, Acclinate is dedicated to changing the healthcare systems and clinical trial participation for the better. 

Here are a few of the ways we are working to change the narrative and make a difference. 

  • Build trust: We are offering transparency for clinical trial participants as well as minorities who are looking for accurate data.  
  • Emphasize the importance of diversity in clinical trials: Diversity in clinical trials is an issue every person should care about. By emphasizing its importance, we can spread awareness and knowledge about the issue.
  • Promote effective, sustained community engagement: Effective community engagement provides access to health-related content that communities of color care about directly from trusted sources.

Although diversity in clinical trials has been a major pain point for minority communities over the years, Acclinate is setting out to change the narrative. The only way we can get truly inclusive, accurate data in clinical trials is to include people of color and minority groups. To find out more about this topic, read our blog post on why diversity initiatives fail when it comes to clinical trials.

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