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Racial disparities in participation in biomedical research.

Kressin NR, Meterko M, Wilson NJ. Racial disparities in participation in biomedical research. Journal of the National Medical Association. 2000 Feb 1; 92(2):62-9.

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To determine whether minority patients were less likely to participate in biomedical research, perceive positive benefits from such participation, or to recommend research participation to other patients, an observational study was conducted. Sociodemographic and survey data were collected from 5436 users of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Ambulatory Care, which included questions about veterans' research participation and related attitudes. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine if there were racial differences in the outcomes of interest, controlling for relevant sociodemographic factors. Bivariate and multivariate analyses indicated that there were no racial differences in self-reported research participation, but minority veterans were more likely to perceive a positive effect of research and less likely to recommend research to other veterans. However, subgroup analyses indicated that, of those veterans having negative attitudes about research, minority and less educated veterans were disproportionately represented. In the VA system, racial differences in research participation may dissipate because many sociodemographic factors are controlled. Although we did not observe consistent racial differences in research participation or attitudes, the fact that minority veterans were disproportionately represented among the group with the most negative attitudes about research suggests that further research is necessary to fully understand the racial dynamics of research participation in the VA.

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