NEW REPORT: The numbers don’t lie: Medical research hesitancy among minorities is real.

Medical research

Sensis, the largest minority-owned advertising agency in the United States recently completed its first survey on diversity in medical research and found that minorities are grossly underrepresented in clinical trials. Even though the FDA requires 15% diversity in federal drug trials for approval, African Americans and Hispanics are the least likely to take part according to research conducted by Sensis. The research found there is continued hesitancy for clinical trial participation among minorities.  However, Sensis believes there is a solution.

“Greater compensation, more transparency, and assurances around health and safety would go a long way toward generating a higher level of participation,” SensisHealth Managing Director Sharon Carothers, MPH, MSW says. “There is a lot of mistrust of institutions among Hispanics and African Americans that has developed over centuries. That is going to be hard to overcome.”

SensisHealth leverages proprietary data and diverse thought leadership from in-house subject matter experts to create cross-cultural campaigns that spur patients and key stakeholders to action, and get measurable results.

According to the report, African Americans had the strongest negative association with clinical trials of any group surveyed. Twenty-nine percent of Black respondents knew, “there are times when certain groups were exploited in medical studies.” Nearly one-third of African American respondents had “heard negative things about medical research studies or clinical trials.” Meanwhile, 28% said they “did not want to be a guinea pig.”

In April 2022, Sensis conducted an online survey of adults ages 18 and older from a nationally representative sample based on U.S. Census regions. 1,727 adults completed the survey.  The survey asked respondents about their demographics (which was also used for screening purposes), general health, thoughts on medical research / clinical trials, trust in institutions, and participation in medical research / clinical trials.

Interested in reading the full “Diversity in Medical Research” report?  Click here.

Medical research and clinical trials lack African, Asian, and Hispanic American participants. This makes it harder to determine if discoveries will be effective among these underrepresented populations. 

“It is important to know what perceptions are standing in your way if you hope to affect meaningful change,” Sensis President and Chief Strategy Officer José Villa said. “Changing behavior takes time but the federal regulations don’t give drug companies very much time. Focusing on the benefits, demonstrating how communities will be helped, and making it personal will all play a role in affecting change.”

Sensis is  an integrated cross-cultural agency, connecting people with brands through marketing that builds relationships across cultures. No audience is left unseen, and no client misses out on reaching them. Agency clients include AltaMed, the CDC, Scripps Research, Georgia Lottery, Covered California, Texas Tech University, California Department of Public Health, Northern Arizona University and the U.S. Census Bureau.

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