More minority participation in clinical trials needed
When minorities are under-represented in clinical trials, it can compromise the quality of studies used to develop guidelines for the treatment of patients. Increasing ethnic minority participation can lead to a win-win situation.
This year's William McBride, M.D. Symposium, "Race Matters: Doctors, Patients and Clinical Trials," will focus on solutions to the historical imbalance regarding minority participation in trials.
"At past conventions, we've discussed the problems, barriers and challenges of enrolling minorities in clinical trials, and educated attendees about the need to involve more doctors," said Karen Bell, M.D., symposium moderator. "What makes this year exciting is we'll present attendees with solutions to these challenges. We expect that the audience, composed of seasoned investigators and novices, will find these strategies useful to improve enrollment in their ongoing studies or inform the recruitment section of new proposals."
The symposium, presented from 1 to 3:30 p.m. today in meeting room St. George 106, is sponsored by Project I.M.P.A.C.T. (Increase Minority Participation and Awareness of Clinical Trials). Through Project I.M.P.A.C.T., the NMA seeks to involve more African-American physicians and patients in a biomedical research and clinical trials.
Dr. Bell will introduce two panels. The first, Stories from the Front Lines, will focus on successful strategies that have been utilized to overcome the challenges of recruiting patients into clinical trials. The second, Wanted: African-American Physician Investigators, will look at engaging physicians. Each panel session will be followed by a question-and-answer period.
The first panel is composed of Natalie Baptiste, MPH; Goldie Byrd, Ph.D.; Elise D. Cook, M.D.; and Anne Skamai, PhD., M.A. Each of the panelists has experience with recruiting African-American patients in clinical trials.
"Dr. Cook, is an oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center who recently published a paper on the difficulties and solutions she found when her group made a concerted effort to enroll African-Americans in a large clinical trial," Dr. Bell said.
The panel will look at how having a better understanding of their disease can inspire patients to participate in trials.
The second panel consists of Michael D. Jones, M.B.A.; J. Scott Morrow, M.D.; and Coleman Obasaju, M.D., Ph.D., who will discuss how to become an investigator.
"We already know many patients in our community are cared for by minority providers, and if the minority providers aren't participating in clinical trials, they may be reluctant to refer their patients to clinical trials," Dr. Bell said. "So, if we could get more African-American physicians to become investigators, we could increase the number of African-American patients in these trials."
The session will close with an open discussion and wrap-up led by James H. Powell, M.D., CPI, Project I.M.P.A.C.T. principal investigator.