Racial bias is a factor when it comes to selecting participants for cancer clinical trials, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Researchers who interviewed fellow colleagues, administrators and staff at five medical centers in the United States also discovered that a combination of clinic‐level barriers and negative perceptions of minority study participants led to providers withholding clinical trial opportunities from potential minority participants.

“Once we acknowledge the potential presence of this bias in this context, we can better identify it, measure it and begin to think about how best to address it,” said Raegan Durant, senior author of the study, “Bias and Stereotyping Among Research and Clinical Professionals: Perspectives on Minority Recruitment for Oncology Clinical Trials.” “As with most phenomena in science, we have to come to terms with its existence so that it can be studied in an empiric fashion.”

Examples of the stereotypes revealed in the interviews included perceptions that African Americans were less knowledgeable about cancer research studies, less likely to participate out of altruism or simply less likely to complete all facets of the research study.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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