Race Matching May Help Increase the Number of Black Participants in Clinical Trials

By Rob Dillard - Last Updated: October 31, 2022

According to a recent study, race/ethnicity matching is a viable strategy for increasing Black people’s participation in clinical trials. The findings were reported in Contemporary Clinical Trials.

“Enrollment of a representative sample of racial- or ethnic-minority participants can be challenging for researchers conducting clinical trials. One proposed solution is race/ethnicity matching (ie, aligning the racial or ethnic identity of the trial recruiter with that of the desired participant), but in practice this idea has yielded mixed results,” the researchers stated. However, they also said the approach seems “inherently strong” and warrants reevaluation.

Researchers analyzed participant enrollment during the screening phase of 2 clinical trials conducted in the neonatal intensive care unit of a predominantly White midwestern hospital using 2 recruiters, one White (used in the first trial) and the other Black (used in the second trial). Subsequently, the investigators evaluated the number of Black women who enrolled in the screening phase of the respective trials.

The analysis found that the Black researcher enrolled twice as many Black participants into the screening phase of a clinical trial compared with the White neonatal nurse practitioner (12.24% and 6.1%, respectively), a 6.14 percentage-point difference that was deemed clinically significant.

“The key finding is that the Black recruiter enrolled a significantly greater number of Black participants than the White recruiter, suggesting that race/ethnicity matching is a viable strategy for increasing racial/ethnic minority participation in clinical studies,” the researchers concluded.

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