When you look at most large research studies, you will often find a common trend– most of the study participants are mainstream patients. Few ethnic patients enroll in research studies. The reasons for this are many and complex.
There are certainly implicit biases on the part of all stakeholders. The researchers may feel that ethnic patients are unlikely to enroll in their study and so do not want to spend a lot of time recruiting them. Ethnic patients may feel that researchers are not to be trusted and may worry that they are being experimented upon.
In thinking about this issue, I feel that most large studies are publicly funded i.e. funded by NIH from our tax dollars. If we do not participate in the studies, then the results may be less relevant in the future for our specific ethnic group or population– or we may be in the dark about specific effects and side effects of common medications and important interventions in certain groups.
There is just one way for all cultural groups to shape research and to reap the full benefits of research findings and that is if we participate in the research protocols to the extent we can.
Watch the video to learn more about this topic.
VJ Periyakoil, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine.
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