November 16, 2023

Concerted push for greater diversity in medical studies ongoing

By: Brita Belli

Editor's Note

Although Congress first required the National Institutes of Health to include more women and people of color in medical studies in 1993, progress has been slow until recently. Now, researchers are making a concerted effort to diversify medical studies, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) November 16 reports. 

According to the WSJ article, researchers say having more diverse data sets from clinical trials, which are in turn used to approve drugs and train artificial intelligence, will lead to better treatments for wider populations. The article also noted:

  • To attract more diverse participants to clinical trials, Pfizer opened them in more diverse areas such as Brownsville, Texas. Other initiatives include partnering with community organizations and providing child care and transportation. 
  • Johnson & Johnson recently released a large study of psoriasis involving only people of color, confirming that the psoriasis drug Tremfya is effective and safe for patients of all skin types.
  • And geneticists looking at 30,000 cancerous tumors in Americans of African ancestry found specific mutations that could impact the aggressiveness of the disease and response to treatments. 

Researchers behind these and other efforts say that studying diverse populations in medical research is essential to understanding the biological workings of disease in various populations and how best to prevent and treat it.


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