A Prescription for Participation: Diabetes Study Helping African Americans Overcome Fears of Ethnic Medical Research
St. John, Eric, Black Issues in Higher Education
They don't want to take pills. They're unwilling to participate in randomized trials. They are reluctant to take a chance," says Robert Ratner, M.D., head of the Medlantic Clinical Research Center in Washington, D.C., discussing why some people don't want to participate in medical research. "There remains reluctance to participate in any medical study. Some of it is, `I want someone else to do it so I "know it's safe, then I'll do it' -- the guinea-pig phenomenon."
Historically, the level of participation of African Americans in medical research studies has been modest. Wary of the motives of those conducting the research -- especially in light of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment -- Blacks have tended to shy away from men and women in lab coats.
That may be changing however, and an example of that change is the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) diabetes study.
NIH is conducting the study -- called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) -- at twenty-five sites around the country. The purpose of the study is to examine ways to prevent type 2 diabetes -- a disease which is developed over time in adults and which causes inadequate processing of sugars in the body.
An important aspect of the study is the mandated participation of minorities. Guidelines for institutions conducting the research state that half of the participants are to be minorities. To accomplish that, community fears about past research studies had to be assuaged.
"There is a reluctance to participate [in medical research studies] in all ethnic groups," says Ratner. "They have some very real concerns. For instance: To what extent is the research explained?; Will it be relevant to them?; And are the goals of the program acceptable? People will not go into a study that they don't understand or trust."
Recalling the History
Medical research studies have often been problematic for minorities. In fact, some of the studies regarding African Americans had very little to do with real medical research. In the nineteenth century, Sen. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina cited statistics from the 1840 U.S. Census as proof …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: A Prescription for Participation: Diabetes Study Helping African Americans Overcome Fears of Ethnic Medical Research. Contributors: St. John, Eric - Author. Magazine title: Black Issues in Higher Education. Volume: 14. Issue: 21 Publication date: December 11, 1997. Page number: 18+. © 1999 Cox, Matthews & Associates. COPYRIGHT 1997 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.