Clinical Researchers Adapting To Mandate For More Diversity In Study Populations

WASHINGTON -- Clinical investigators trying to include more women and minorities in their studies must rethink the traditional researcher-subject relationships and pay more attention to the needs of populations. And while the immediate costs of complying with federal mandates for increasing the use of underrepresented populations as research subjects may be significant, the long-term consequences of not doing so may be considerable, they say. "When I sit on committees, I hear members of re

Marcia Clemmitt
Sep 15, 1991
WASHINGTON -- Clinical investigators trying to include more women and minorities in their studies must rethink the traditional researcher-subject relationships and pay more attention to the needs of populations. And while the immediate costs of complying with federal mandates for increasing the use of underrepresented populations as research subjects may be significant, the long-term consequences of not doing so may be considerable, they say.

"When I sit on committees, I hear members of renowned research institutions stressing the need to carefully separate research from service," says Janet Mitchell, director of the special prenatal clinic at Harlem Hospital in New York. "That's the old thinking: research has to be isolated and protected. But that won't hold water with these new populations."

Mitchell says today's researchers must be able to show how their science contributes to clients' welfare in addition to increasing the world's storehouse of knowledge. " Women, drug users, minorities--they're...