An appeal from Derek West, M.D., Clinical Research Pathways Board of Directors

When your doctor prescribes medication, you want to be confident that it will do what it’s supposed to. But if you’re a person of color, that might not be the case.

Most of today’s medicines were tested primarily on white men, so we can’t be sure how well they work for the rest of the population. That underrepresentation will continue unless we do something to change it.

That’s why I joined the board of directors of Clinical Research Pathways—and why I’m asking you to support the important work of our organization.

African Americans make up 13.4% of the U.S. population but only 5% of those participating in clinical trials. Latino and Hispanic Americans make up 18.1 % of the U.S. population and just 1% of clinical trial participants.

Underrepresentation is also an issue among those who conduct clinical trials. Only 1.5% of National Institutes of Health-funded physician researchers are African American.

We’re in this together

Diversity of race, gender, and ethnicity helps create diversity of ideas. When people have similar backgrounds and perspectives, they tend to approach challenges the same way. Without diversity, we miss out on new ways to approach disease processes.

Furthermore, when we have and want to test a new approach, without diversity among research participants, we won’t know if that approach works. When research only applies to a small segment of the population, it fails everyone else—and that means it fails all of us.

Clinical Research Pathways is tackling this issue on both fronts, seeking to increase diversity among physician researchers and clinical trial participants.

We are determined to open access, advance treatments, and extend the benefits of clinical research to all Americans, regardless of age, gender, race, or ethnicity. You can help by making a gift today.

Group of people holding hand together in the park

Blog post contributor Derek West, M.D., is an interventional radiologist, cancer researcher, and mentor at Emory University in Atlanta. His research interests also include medical diversity and inclusion.