Addressing equity in clinical trials

By Jennifer O'Hara

Like many organizations, Mayo Clinic is working to address disparities and equity in health care. This work is important not only in the clinic setting, but also in addressing equity issues in medical research and clinical trials.

Clinical trials are research studies used to determine whether an intervention, such as a drug, device or other therapy, is safe and effective for people. People in racial and ethnic minority groups are underrepresented in clinical trials.

"That's a real concern and a real issue because you want to make sure that the results of the clinical trial are applicable to the whole population," says Dr. Gerardo Colon-Otero, a Mayo Clinic oncologist and medical director for the Mayo Clinic Center for Health Equity and Community Engagement Research.

While efforts are underway at Mayo Clinic to promote inclusive participation in clinical trials for all populations, Sonya Goins, a Mayo Clinic patient who has participated in clinical trials, says that more work needs to be done to reach members of underserved groups and help them understand the benefits of participating in clinical trials.

"Firstly, when it comes to diverse communities, people need to be aware that these studies are out there, and that they give you hope," says Goins. "That's the reason why I do them. It's because they give me hope."

In this "Mayo Clinic Q&A" podcast video, Dr. Colon-Otero and Goins join host Dr. Halena Gazelka for a conversation about equity in research and clinical trials:

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For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

A version of this article was originally published on the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Learn more

Learn more about cancer clinical trials at Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic's efforts to address disparities in healthcare.