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African-American Parents More Distrusting Of Medical Research

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2009-02-10 07:47

Distrust toward medicine and research plays a significant role in African-Americans’ lack of participation in clinical trials, according to a study by researchers at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

African-Americans are significantly underrepresented in clinical research. A recent study published in the February issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine addresses the racial differences in parental trust toward medicine and research and their implications for enrollment of children into clinical research. The researchers found that enrollment of children into clinical research studies depends on parental attitudes, beliefs and expectations.

In a research survey of 190 parents (140 African-American and 50 white) of patients seen at Children’s Hospital’s Primary Care Center, African-American parents were twice as likely to be distrusting of medical research as white parents. This study was conducted by Kumaravel Rajakumar, MD, a pediatrician in Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Division of General Academic Pediatrics, in collaboration with Stephen Thomas, PhD, the Philip Hallen Professor of Community Health and Social Justice and director of the Center for Minority Health in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh.

Parental distrust toward medicine and research can be a barrier for enrollment of children in clinical research studies. The higher levels of distrust among African-American parents can mean that they are less likely to enroll their children in clinical trials, which can have profound implications for eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities, as it impacts the extent to which research findings can be applied to the general population including minorities,” said Dr. Rajakumar, also an assistant professor of Pediatrics in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Our study also found that financial and other incentives would only be moderately effective in increasing participation. As a medical community, we need to develop better strategies for overcoming the distrust of African-American parents to help achieve adequate participation of African-American children in clinical research.”

As compared with white parents, African-American parents:

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