group of different ethnicities for clinical trials

How Diversity in Clinical Trials Can Help You

Having more racial, ethnic and gender diversity in clinical trials can can impact generations of your family’s – and community’s – health.

Who’s Participating in Clinical Trials

You and your family’s health depends on knowing how a medical test or therapy affects them, based on their race, ethnicity, age and gender. But minorities and women are underrepresented in clinical trials – including trials studying some of the diseases that affect them most. Right now, clinical trials don’t enroll enough women and people of color.1 In fact, 83.3% of clinical trial participants are white.2

of the U.S. population are Black but represent but only 5% of clinical trial participants.3

of the population are Hispanic but they make up only 1% of clinical trial participants.4

two African american woman for clinical trials

Why Is Diversity Important?

In order for results of clinical trials to apply to everyone, there must be more non-white and non-male volunteers

  • There are differences in how diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, affect racial or ethnic groups and women
  • Differences in how these groups respond to treatment might not become known until after a device or drug is approved and in widespread use
  • If treatments are developed without showing how they affect everyone, minority and female patients may miss out on potentially lifesaving new screenings and treatments

Benefits for Your Family & Community

Women and minority clinical trial volunteers are needed in order to have diversity in clinical trials and create meaningful medical research. Having this research leads to products, drugs and procedures that are safe and effective for people with diverse backgrounds.

It also speeds up the approval of effective treatments for patients like you in the future.

Key Benefits

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Some therapies are only available to patients in clinical trials.

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Your family could be among the first to benefit from information about a new treatment.

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You get special care and close oversight by clinical trial doctors.

saving money

Some clinical trials offer free health screenings and exams, saving your family money.

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You have the opportunity to contribute to medical and scientific knowledge that could help future generations, like your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

5 Things to Know About Clinical Trials

Find fast facts below about this kind of clinical research.

1. Clinical trials follow very strict processes to study new medical screenings, diagnostic tests and therapies.
2. The purpose of clinical trials is to find safe, effective ways to lower the risk of getting a health problem, to screen or test for it, and to treat it.
3. Developing new ways to prevent and treat health conditions depends on patient volunteers.
4. Participation is completely up to you, and if you enroll, you have the right to withdraw at any time.
5. Federal laws protect volunteers participating in medical research.

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3 Ways to Improve Diversity In Clinical Trials

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Get Fully Informed

If you and your doctor decide that the benefits of a clinical trial outweigh the risks, you should learn all you can. Ask your doctor questions all about clinical trials.
  • provides information about federally and private clinical research. It explains a trial’s purpose, who could participate, locations and contacts.
  • National Institutes of Health offers educational resources and helpful overviews.

Get Funding to Increase Diversity

If you’re part of a nonprofit working to identify and recruit diverse clinical trial participants or to raise awareness about the importance of inclusion, we invite you to apply for a Boston Scientific grant.

Educate Your Community

Unfortunately, many underserved groups aren’t informed about their treatment options or the possibility for participating in clinical trials. Help spread the word in your community. Share what you’ve learned on this page and direct them to our health conditions resource page so they can make informed decisions about their care.

2: U.S. Census Bureau; National Institutes of Health; Tufts CSDD, 2010.
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