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Black Patient Participation in Clinical Trials: A Call to Action

When it comes to detailed information on the newest practices in health and science, clinical trials can offer researchers insight on how to help some of the world’s most overlooked populations – if they make themselves available. In 2019, nearly 50,000 individuals participated in clinical trials that resulted in the approval of 48 new drugs, yet a limited number of study volunteers identified as Black.


With many illnesses such as sickle cell anemia, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and prostate cancer affecting Black communities more than other people, more Black volunteers are needed to help scientists understand the impact different treatments. Black participation in clinical trials, helps to improve the health of all people and provide greater understanding of health disparities.


Understanding that much of the hesitation to participate is rooted in fear, CISCRP is hosting AWARE for All – Midwest, a virtual informational webinar on the trial process and its impact on various communities as a learning tool to increase accurate knowledge surrounding clinical trials. The 90-minute event will include a panel discussion with trial participants and health professionals, seated chair yoga exercise, and informational videos. The event will give people from all walks of life the chance to learn more about how they can help make strides in modern medicine.


The educational event is set to take place on July 22 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. central daylight time. It is free to attend. The online meeting is directed towards those living in the Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Minnesota areas and will give attendees access to a panel of experts able to answer questions about the benefits of trials but also allow them to hear personal stories from people who have participated in clinical trials.


One trial participant, and panelist for AWARE for All – Midwest, Nia Grant says she feels a direct obligation to make these studies more inclusive of communities like her own.


“For me the important part of participating in a clinical trial was to represent,” said Nia Grant. “I am a brown queer woman and historically clinical trials have not included participants who look and identify like me and if they did it wasn’t necessarily in the best way.”


Hoping to make a difference in the world of medicine and its relationship with minorities, Grant says she wants to up the chances that trial results are both transparent and all-encompassing.


“As we are in 2021 and we are marching towards a more diverse and equitable world, I want to represent people who look like me so that when different drugs and products come to market, doctors who look at the research they can say, ‘oh yes, we’ve truly had participants who were diverse’”, said Grant.


While Grant is fueled by her desire to participate on behalf of her communities, she recognizes the apprehension felt by some of her peers.


“It can be scary and overwhelming to participate in a clinical trial but I would encourage folks to do so because it is helpful not only to the participants but it’s also advancing medical science and technology for everyone,” said Grant.


There is still time to register for Aware for All – Midwest. Visit www.ciscrp.org/event/aware-for-all-midwest-virtual-event/ to sign up. Hear more from Nia Grant on her experiences with clinical trials.

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