Although other factors can affect how we prevent disease, administer care and develop innovative treatments, clinical trials are critical to advancements in medicine; and as previously proven and then again confirmed by the pandemic, lack of diversity in clinical trials can put research, vaccines and even more healthcare elements at risk.
Successful clinical trials can provide the critical research necessary for accurate diagnoses, determining proper dosages of medicine and vaccines, identifying treatment side effects and drug interactions, and helping our medical community make the best decisions when it comes to saving lives. Additionally, what we learn now through clinical research studies may affect accurate and effective diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease for many years to come, possibly even future generations.
Obviously, research is not as complete as it should be when certain communities are underrepresented in clinical trials, and we need to resolve any clinical trial volunteer diversity issues to enjoy the benefits of optimal standards of care. Since clinical trials are often among the first steps taken to attain valuable healthcare knowledge and develop medical innovations, it is imperative to maintain adequate levels of diversity within clinical trials.
Examples of Underrepresented Communities within Clinical Trials
So let’s address a few specifics. For example, as research has indicated, African Americans make up approximately 5% of clinical trial participants. Yet they account for roughly 14% of our American population. In addition, about 1% of Hispanics volunteer for clinical trials when they make up 19% of America. Certain illnesses affecting people of color more harshly can often be attributed to their disproportionate representation within clinical trials. The diversity of the clinical trial participant population needs to be reflective of the actual population to ensure the most successful results.
What Are the Reasons for Lack of Diversity within Clinical Trials?
So why does this happen? A bunch of factors come into play, including unequal access to medical resources. Also note that underrepresented individuals can also emanate from rural (versus urban) populations because these communities can face similar issues when it comes to access to care. Another issue is the historical failing to keep people of color safe during medical research – resulting in a well-deserved level of mistrust. Additionally, those individuals with compromised health can be disqualified from participation within clinical trials for their own safety. For instance, this may happen to the African American community when high blood pressure or diabetes – health concerns which are elevated in approximately 40% of adult African Americans – is a concern.
How Can We Overcome Diversity Barriers within Clinical Trials?
Improved communication and education to help increase awareness can help. Increasing access to clinical trials can also help improve overall diversity within clinical research, with steps such as dispersing testing within a wider geographical area, making sure that transportation is available to clinical trial sites when they are not in close proximity to a potential clinical trial volunteer’s place of residence and improving interactive tools, including online innovations providing medical and clinical trial access.
Increasing the percentage of people of color in physician as well as medical research roles can help improve education, address language issues and enhance the comfort level in other areas among a more diverse volunteer population.
Advancements in technology, such as using emerging data science for demographic data collection and to facilitate effective and more frequent collaborations between clinical trials and information technology, are also beneficial…and as these technological advancements progress, it could result in an extremely welcome information explosion across communities, the nation and even our world.
Meaningful changes for underrepresented clinical trial volunteer groups, including broadening eligibility criteria, helping to reduce the burdens experienced by underrepresented groups and by adopting more inclusive clinical trial volunteer retention practices, can also be created through advancements in industry policy.
Why Participate in a Clinical Trial?
Clinical research trials and the volunteers who participate in them play a vital role in improving the health of current and future generations. By participating in a clinical trial, you can help make the world a better place and help Velocity Clinical Research work toward building brighter tomorrows. Successful clinical trials can produce a variety of remarkable results. They can deliver relief to those suffering from illnesses without previous treatment or cures and provide an enhanced quality of life for those who formerly had no hope of comfort.
Research indicates that, typically, the more clinical trial volunteers participate in a study, the more effective the study and the more quickly that study is likely to generate results. A variety of people – from all walks of life and origin, and from young to old – are also needed to ensure the success of a clinical trial.
Velocity Clinical Research and its clinical trials are an integral part of the continual process to improve medicine for everyone. If you like to become a partner in scientific discovery and help future generations lead healthier, more fulfilling lives…and receive monetary compensation while you do it; you may be an excellent candidate to participate as a volunteer in clinical trial research.
For more information about the clinical trials at Velocity Clinical Research, interested parties can call the Velocity Clinical Research professionals for more information at 386-428-7730 Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Friday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Velocity Clinical Research, at 1410 S. Ridgewood Avenue in the seaside town of Edgewater, is conveniently located in Central Florida and also not very far from Orlando.