Clinical Trials and African-Americans

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If you’d rather have dental work performed without anesthesia than be part of a clinical trial, you are not alone. Many African–Americans shy away from the clinical trial process because of painful knowledge of the Tuskegee Institute studies from the 1930’s, when a group of Black men with syphilis were watched for four decades but not given treatment.

This is unfortunate, because times have changed. Clinical trials are now strictly regulated and treatments are scrutinized to prevent another Tuskegee incident. Black participants in today’s clinical trials have access to medicines and therapies that will become the treatment gold standard.

Interested? Talk to your doctor about a referral or contact a research university for a list of current studies. If you don’t have a disease, volunteer; healthy volunteers are part of a control group. Meet with the researchers conducting the study. Ask questions: Who sponsors the study? Who can I turn to in the medical community for advice? Why am I taking this medication and how will it benefit me? What are the expected results? What are the side effects? Are there risks involved? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

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