Prevention therapies have the
potential to improve the overall
health of populations.
It has rapidly become a medical science truism that Precision Medicine or the science of targeting prevention therapies according to an individual’s lifestyle, environment or genetics, has the potential to improve the overall health of populations. This is equally true about pharmacogenomics which uses an individual’s genome to determine drug responses and to tailor certain therapies. It is also widely known in the medical community that most precision medicine therapies and treatments are occurring predominantly, in European populations.
African Americans are grossly
under-represented in pharmacogenic
studies and trials.
According to an August 3, 2018 report authored by Daniel R. Weinberger of the Medical Press Magazine, “existing genetic and medical research data conspicuously underrepresent certain populations.” According to Weinberger, “the state of current genetic research suggests that African Americans will likely miss out on many of the potential future benefits of personalized medicine.”
As European communities experience the benefits of these new medical innovations, African American participation and recruitment is at an all-time low. Surveys reveal that minority groups are averse to participating in medical trials involving precision medicine due to the historic mistreatment of African Americans by the medical community. The Tuskegee Syphilis study and the case of Henrietta Lacks are well known examples of chronic mistreatment of African Americans by the medical community. Existing studies reveal that educational exchanges and information styled interactions improve the ability for medical scientists to recruit African Americans for medical trials.
There's a positive impact of
education and interaction.
There exists a wealth of studies and data to support the positive impact of education and interaction as a means of increasing minority participation in medical trials and gene collection. Consider a 2002 research study headed by J.M. Grimshaw entitled “Changing provider behavior: An overview of systematic reviews of interventions to promote implementation of research findings by healthcare professionals”. In it, Grimshaw and his colleagues concluded that increased education and awareness does impact positive participation by African Americans in genomic trials and research. Subsequent studies have reached nearly identical conclusions.
A 2005 study by D. Wendler examined the most common causes of why ethnic and racial minorities are less willing to participate in health research. The lack of information and education on the issue frequently arises as the primary factor for this reluctance. Consider further a 2015 study led by H.G. Skinner and conducted with others entitled “Using community-based participatory research principles to develop more understandable recruitment and informed consent documents in genomic research”. This study supports the conclusion that where information and education is provided in settings where beliefs are important, such as a church, the likelihood of participating in medical trials and gene collection by African Americans is enhanced. In fact, an article published in the American Journal of Physics and Applications authored by Tshela E. Mason, James Lindesay, and Georgia M. Dunston have examined the importance of studying the diversity found in populations as a pathway to understanding genome variation.