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News Roundup | Week of March 23, 2018

3/26/18 7:13 PM

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How to Improve Diversity in Clinical Trials

As reported in previous News Roundups, a lack of diversity in clinical trials results in disparities in care among under-served populations. Recruiting different racial and ethnic groups, especially African-Americans, remains a challenge. A focus-group study conducted by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center sought to learn what it would take to address this problem. Results show that trust and communication are key to increasing minority participation in clinical trials.

From the article:

Acceptable communication would require a change in vocabulary. Participants understood the term "study" but not "trial." "Biobanking" would be better communicated as "your blood or tissue would be stored in a bank." The term "genomics" sounded alarming and intimidating. "It did not mean anything to most participants," [Terry C. Davis, PhD, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport] said. The terminology "minorities are needed in clinical trials" was not well received. "All people are needed for studies to improve treatments and find cures" was elected as more appropriate....

"Enhancing communication is a key priority moving forward. Since a trusted provider is essential for enrollment, these trusted providers and their patients need to have access to clear, culturally appropriate, unbiased information on genomic trials, and their potential risks and benefits. This should happen before anyone is asked to participate in a particular study, not during the consent process," Davis commented in an [American Association for Cancer Research] news release.

How to Improve Diversification of Patients With Cancer in Clinical Trials, from MedScape


Disparities Close Due to Declining Heart Health in Whites

A long-term cross-sectional study of cardiovascular health disparities by UCLA examined data from white, African-American, and Mexican-American patients between 1988 and 2014. Findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, show a reduction in disparities among racial and ethnic groups during that time period. But only because white heart health declined.

From the article:

“The reason for the reduction in disparities was unexpected,” said lead author Dr. Arleen Brown, professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Olive View Medical Center. “Whites were the only group we studied where the prevalence of optimal cardiovascular health declined consistently over the time period.”

....“Cardiovascular disease disproportionately affects minorities at an earlier age than whites, and contributes to the economic burden of health disparities,” Brown said. “There are ways to modify both biological and behavioral risk factors that lead to heart disease. This data can help prioritize those intervention strategies.”

Cardiovascular Health Disparities Between Whites and Minorities Narrow, Study Shows, from UCLA Newsroom


Income Data Proves Effects of Racism on Black Boys

A large study of nearly all Americans born between 1978 and 1982 paints a picture of two Americas when it comes to upward mobility for black and white children—especially boys. The data shows that among black and white boys of similar backgrounds and upbringing, the black boys are far more likely to earn less as adults, and have a lower social standing. The study, led by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, concludes that the income disparity between black and white men is driven by racism. This discredits the prevailing theory that income inequality is based on class, not race.

From the article:

Some of the widest black-white income gaps in this study appear in wealthy communities. This fits with previous research that has shown that the effects of racial discrimination cross class lines. Although all children benefit from growing up in places with higher incomes and more resources, black children do not benefit nearly as much as white children do. Moving black boys to opportunity is no guarantee they can tap into it.

“Simply because you’re in an area that is more affluent, it’s still hard for black boys to present themselves as independent from the stereotype of black criminality,” said Khiara Bridges, a professor of law and anthropology at Boston University who has written a coming paper on discrimination against affluent black people.

This dynamic still weighs on Mr. Jawando. He has a good income, multiple degrees and political aspirations — he is running for county council in Montgomery County, where he grew up. But in his own community, he is careful to dress like a professional.

“I think if I’m putting on a sweatsuit, if I go somewhere, will I be seen as just kind of a hood black guy?” he said. “Or will people recognize me at all?” Those small daily decisions — to wear a blazer or not — follow him despite his success. “I don’t think you escape those things,” he said.

Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys, from The New York Times

For more analysis, listen to the March 23 episode of The Daily podcast from The New York Times.


African-American Adults Perceive Lower-Quality Healthcare [Podcast]

A study by the University of Cincinnati found that African-American patients are more likely that white patients to believe their race and economic or health-insurance status negatively impact the quality of healthcare they receive. Survey data show that 21% of African-Americans think they would receive better care if they were of a different race or ethnic group.

Listen to the 28-minute podcast on "Racial Disparities in Healthcare," from WVXU in Cincinnati


Learn about our Jumpstarter Award for cultural competency training

Megan Bedford

Written by Megan Bedford

Megan Bedford is Vice President of Content & Marketing for Quality Interactions.