The AAMC sent a Sept. 16 letter to Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) endorsing H. Res. 1125, a resolution expressing support for prioritizing racial and ethnic diversity in clinical trials for therapies, diagnostics, and vaccines for COVID-19.
The resolution, introduced by Rep. Engel and 19 other House members, calls on federal agencies to address the financial and social barriers that may hinder participation of communities of color in COVID-19 clinical trials. The resolution also urges federal agencies to partner with community groups, faith-based organizations, and health care facilities to conduct outreach and take steps to improve access to an approved COVID-19 vaccine for communities of color.
“COVID-19 has illuminated the social, economic, and health inequities in the United States which have resulted in a devastating disproportionate impact on communities of color,” said Karen Fisher, AAMC chief public policy officer.
“The AAMC is pleased to endorse this resolution that encourages federal agencies to take meaningful steps to engage minority communities in research and clinical trials, to address barriers that may prevent diverse participation in COVID-19 clinical trials, and to ensure equitable access to treatments and vaccines,” the letter says.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color. In New York City, the coronavirus has killed Black and Latino Americans at twice the rate of White Americans,” said Rep. Engel in a Sept. 18 press statement. “Better representation in clinical trials will help improve health outcomes across the board. We need to rethink many of the ways our health system operates if we’re going to improve care in this country,” Engel said.
The resolution was also endorsed by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Families USA, and Research!America.