How Many 'Black Folk' Are Actually Surveyed For Health Studies?

proven fact that African Americans are more likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer of any kind, diabetes, and strokes. However, do you ever wonder what is driving the statistics behind these statistics? Who’s conducting these studies? Is the information factual? How many “Black folk” are actually participating in these clinical trials? Recent explorations have led many scientists to believe that the numbers are in fact skewed. There are many historical driving factors that point fingers to this cultural phenomenon. Two being mass incarceration, and the mistrust of the Black community towards medical research…and these two go hand in hand. In the 1960s, the US Congress passed ethical regulations to ensure that patients properly consented to independent health studies. All was well and remained well amongst those who abided by these restrictions. However the studies were voluntary, and due to the times, disproportionately only included one demographic: White males. In the 1970s, mass incarceration took its toll and led to the unfortunate epidemic of Black males filling prisons. Those “of-age” citizens who were once participants of many studies, could no longer participate. In a cardiovascular study, 60% of Black males dropped out due to being locked up. In this way, data was also distorted. Inclusively, medical professionals involuntarily sought after inmates drive their findings. By this time, an alarming 90% of pharmaceutical drugs got tested on prisoners, before they were put on the market. As a result, these Black men suffered. Some of you may recall the infamous headlines of the 70s that sparked public outrage—like the Tuskegee study where 400 men were infected with syphilis that went untreated for decades. Or, how about the time when it was found that inmates were exposed to radioactive chemicals and hallucinogens? Later, a law was passed in 1978 prohibiting studies done on inmates, unless they were proven to be beneficial. In the 1990s more efforts were made to include minorities in research. Many patients realized that one size did not fit all when it came to what medicines certain groups of people could take, and how they would react to it. The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both sought after diversity, correspondingly. They also improved their tactics of approach and their ways of making African Americans feel more comfortable during the process. However, the fact still remains that there is a lot more healing that needs to be done. And as we all know, time heals all wounds! (in most cases)  ]]>

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