By Reginald Swift, founder/CEO, Rubix LS
Fresh off attending the ASCO 2022 conference, I was heartened to hear how much attention was focused on promoting minority participation in clinical trials. We all know it is the right thing to do morally, but it is also clear that diverse populations generate better data, richer science, and more effective clinical trials.
However, good intentions and attention alone won’t do much to improve the situation. For example, in a recent survey, nearly 83% of minority respondents were not aware of clinical trials or how they play a key role in our healthcare ecosystem.
And a recent survey presented at ASCO found the discouraging, if not surprising, news that many Black cancer patients say they are never even offered the chance to participate in a clinical trial. The important survey by the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance was led by a registered nurse and minority patient advocate Stephanie Walker, who presented her results to a rapt ASCO audience.
How can we expect people to participate in something if they’ve never heard of it, or if their knowledge is vague and rife with misconceptions?
I’m calling on the clinical trial industry to roll up its sleeves and go at this problem at the grassroots level. We need to increase educational efforts at local health fairs, churches, and other gathering places. We need to identify leaders within minority communities and empower them to tell the positive story of clinical trials and how participation in them can improve healthcare outcomes for millions more Americans.
At Rubix, we are committed to bringing leaders together with effective data to help educate a wider swath of the population, match them with the most relevant and promising clinical trials, and ensure all Americans enjoy access to quality healthcare.
Currently, our efforts help support trials in thirteen countries addressing some 1,760 diseases and cancers. Last month, we announced an exciting milestone: We have supported more than 750,000 underrepresented patients on our way to a goal of serving one million and making certain they are not forgotten by our healthcare system.
It’s time to reach out to all Americans and help them benefit from current and future clinical trials. It’s good science, and it’s the right thing to do.