Many Black Parents Distrust Medical Research, Do Not Enroll Children in Clinical Trials, Study Finds
Black parents are twice as likely as white parents to distrust medical research, and as a result, many black parents do not enroll their children in clinical trials, according to a study released on Tuesday and published in the February issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. For the study, researchers from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health surveyed 140 black parents and 50 white parents whose children were treated at Children's Primary Care Center. The center's patient population is about 70% black and 20% white (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2/3). According to the study:
- 67% of black parents said they distrust medical research, compared with 50% of white parents;
- 40% of blacks said they believe doctors prescribe medications to experiment on unknowing patients, compared with 28% of whites;
- 46.8% of blacks believe that participating in medical research was too risky, compared with 28% of whites;
- 24.6% of blacks believe that doctors would withhold information from them regarding their child's participation, compared with 10% of whites;
- 48.6% of blacks believe that research participants would receive better medical care and preferences than those who do not participate, compared with 28% of whites; and
- 74% of those with less than a high school education distrusted medical research, compared with 44% of college graduates; even among those of similar education, blacks were still more likely to distrust medical research.
Kumaravel Rajakumar, co-author of the study and a pediatrician at Children's Hospital, said participation of black children in medical studies is important for researchers to collect essential data that can help other minority children (Schaarsmith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/4).
Stephen Thomas, director of the Center for Minority Health at the university, said, "Race matters. It is important for the biomedical research community to acknowledge that African-American distrust toward medicine and research is not irrational; on the contrary, it reflects the legitimate discontent of far too many black families who experience racial discrimination when seeking medical care."
Researchers suggested that providing culturally appropriate recruitment materials and employing minority research assistants can help address black parents' distrust of medical research (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2/3).
The study is available online. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.