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NPR explores the need for improving diversity in clinical trials

In case you missed it yesterday, NPR had a segment discussing the importance of having more diversity among participants of clinical trials:

...[A]ccording to the National Cancer Institute, African-Americans only accounted for 9.2 percent of the patients involved in its clinical trials, even though African-Americans are more likely than any other racial group to die of the disease.

But bringing more African-Americans into clinical trials means overcoming decades of suspicion and distrust.

The reporter goes on to talk with Junius Hayes, a retired federal worker and the first African-American participant in a clinical trial for a potential prostate-cancer treatment. When asked if anyone in his family discouraged him from being part of the trial, he said:

No, but if they knew about it they would say no. They would say no because of trust. We just don't trust people to experiment with us. The black male - just like the while male - they don't want to go to the doctor anyway, regardless of your race. When you put the color - we grew up going through Jim Crow. And when you come up going through Jim Crow days we weren't educated. So it's education has a lot to do with the disparity in the participation.

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