Why does diversity matter in clinical trials?

Now I can live a full and healthy life… that’s only possible because I participated in a clinical trial, and so many other people did before me.

Click a question below to learn more:

Are clinical trials not diverse right now?

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Most people who take part in clinical trials are white or Caucasian. Non-white minorities make up less than 10% of all clinical trial participants. This is a problem because some minority groups get certain diseases more often. For example, African American men are twice as likely as white men to die from prostate cancer. However, African American men only make up 4% of men in prostate cancer clinical trials. Because of this, treatments for prostate cancer may not work as well for African American men.

How does diversity impact clinical trials?

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A person’s response to diseases and medications can depend on many things. Some factors include a person’s genes, ethnicity, sex, and lifestyle. Different groups can process medications differently. Also, medications that work for one group may not work for another. It is important to have diverse groups of people taking part in clinical trials so that the trials can:

  • Produce study results represent the general population.
  • Make sure new treatments and medications work for people of all backgrounds.

If diverse groups of people take part in clinical trials, medications and treatments should work for more people.

 

Who is underrepresented in clinical trials?

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Groups of people that are underrepresented in clinical trials include people who are:

  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic
  • Aged 65 or older

Who takes part in a study depends on the type of study. People who are not underrepresented in one type of study may be underrepresented in another. For example, women make up around half of all clinical trial participants. Yet women only make up around one third of people in clinical trials focused on the heart. This is a problem because heart diseases are the leading cause of death among both men and women.

 

Read: Women Are Still Underrepresented in Clinical Trials for Cardiovascular Disease Drugs

 

Will I be treated differently because of my background, sex, or age?

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You will not be treated differently because of your ethnicity, sex, or age. You will be given the same rights as another other research participants. Your rights are to:

  • Be treated with respect.
  • Be fully informed in different aspects of your treatment plan
  • Decide not to take part in a study.
  • Leave a study at any time.
  • Ask for information in the language of your choice or ask someone to help you interpret.

Find more resources

Current diversity in clinical trials

Click on a link below to learn about current demographics and the need for a diverse participation pool in clinical trials

Impact of Increased diversity in clinical trials

Click to learn more about how increased diversity may impact the results of clinical trials

At Chicago Public Library

Click on a link below to see resources at Chicago Public Library:

Find a clinical trial

Find a trial at Northwestern University here

Call a clinical trials recruitment nurse at Northwestern: (312)-695-1102

Find trials throughout Chicago and the US here

From the Chicago Department of Public Health

Connect to services and programs around Chicago

Chicago Health Atlas – for data to better understand health in Chicago and identify opportunities to improve health and well-being

CDPH’s Healthy Chicago 2.0 initiative

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