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Am J Surg. 2007 Jan;193(1):32-9; discussion 40.

African Americans' participation in clinical research: importance, barriers, and solutions.

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Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, 231 Albert B. Sabin Way, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0558, USA.


Ethical and scientifically sound research requires that any sample population represent the population as a whole. African-Americans suffer disproportionately from cancer, hypertension, and heart failure compared with whites, but they are commonly underrepresented in clinical trials of these diseases. Failure to include African-American subjects in clinical trials prevents generalizability of the results to this population. African-Americans are often underrepresented in clinical research for numerous historic, societal, educational, and economic reasons. Efforts to improve enrollment of African-American subjects requires recognition of the problem, planning, educational efforts, and investigator training. The incidence of heart disease and prostate cancer in African-Americans dictates that these patients be targeted for clinical trials of surgical research. The research team must appreciate the importance of community involvement and support in recruiting African-Americans participants. Additionally, the continued effort to recruit and train African-American investigators must be a priority.

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