On Sept. 29, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) announced more than $1.9 million in grants to four organizations for its National Lupus Outreach and Clinical Trial Education Initiative. Over a three-year period, awardees will identify and sustain effective interventions to advance clinical trial diversity and to ultimately reduce health disparities experienced by racial and ethnic minority individuals with lupus.
“Although opportunities exist to participate in clinical trials, clinical trials for lupus have had limited success in recruiting participants from racial and ethnic minority communities,” said Rear Admiral Felicia Collins, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and OMH Director. “This community-driven initiative will help decrease barriers to clinical trial recruitment and enrollment by addressing patient mistrust of the medical and research community and increasing awareness of the benefits of clinical trials.”
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in different tissues of the body, which may in turn lead to permanent tissue damage. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with lupus are women aged 15 to 44. African American women are three times more likely to be diagnosed with lupus, and they may develop the disease at a younger age and have more serious and life-threatening complications than non-Hispanic white women. Clinical trials play a key role in identifying and developing new and better treatments for individuals with lupus.