Diversity in Clinical and Biomedical Research: A Promise Yet to Be Fulfilled

The December 2015 issue of PLOS Medicine featured a policy forum entitled "Diversity in Clinical and Biomedical Research:  A Promise Yet to Be Fulfilled." This provocative article reminds us that health disparities persist across race/ethnicity for the majority of Healthy People 2010 health indicators and that most physicians and scientists are informed by research extrapolated from a largely homogenous population that is usually white and male. It is important that participants in research studies be representative of the larger U.S. population. Disease pattern, clinical presentation and therapeutic responses vary by race/ethnicity and ancestral background, as seen in breast cancer, heart failure, kidney disease, risk factors for preterm birth and drug responses. Unfortunately minority enrollment in cancer clinical trials and studies of cardiovascular disease and diabetes are strikingly low despite racial disparities in the prevalence, incidence and mortality from these conditions. Overcoming this will require creative thinking about using innovative and community-engaged approaches to recruit minority study participants; increasing the number of minority physicians and scientists and ensuring their funding success and reducing bias in the NIH peer-review process.

-Sherita Golden, Executive Vice Chair

To view the article online, click here: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001918

For a PDF of the article, click here: Diversity in Clinical and Biomedical Research - A promise yet to be fullfilled - 2015