Comment Now: Increase Latino Representation in Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials!

The National Institute of Aging (NIA) is seeking comments and suggestions on how it can implement community-based research networks to increase diversity in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD).

At Salud America!, we believe that diverse representation is critical in Alzheimer’s clinical trials to ensure that health and medical discoveries are equitable for diverse populations.

This means increasing diversity among research leaders and clinical trial participants and establishing sustainable connections with Latino communities and other communities of color who have historically been underrepresented in medicine.

If you agree, you can endorse Dr. Amelie Ramirez’s comment to NIA.

Responses will be accepted through Saturday April 9, 2022.


Dr. Amelie Ramirez, Director of Salud America! and of the Institute of Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, will submit the following comment to NIA:

We must take steps to address the large racial/ethnic gap in clinical trials and research. Despite making up 18.5% of the U.S. population, Latinos make up less than 10% of participants in federal clinical research and drug studies. Yet Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias than their White peers.

We must establish a connection with the Latino community when conducting research on Alzheimer’s and dementia. This means having a sustained relationship with the community you serve. We can do so with the use of culturally tailored digital health communications, advocacy networks, and clinical partnerships. Interpersonal training on implicit bias and establishing a support system in instances of bias and racism will help people of color feel more comfortable going to the doctor, receiving treatment, and participating in clinical trials.

Additionally, hiring more healthcare workers from diverse backgrounds who can connect to patients requires increasing diversity in medical schools. This can be addressed through mentorship programs, internships, and fellowships that governmental health agencies funds with under-resourced communities, increased financial aid for students of color seeking higher education, and organizations that support students of color once in medical school.

The deadline for comments is April 9, 2022.

Hit the orange button to submit this comment!


Why Diverse Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials Matter

Historically and presently, Latinos are underrepresented in clinical research.

Researchers want to increase diverse participation in clinical trials to ensure that Latinos and other underrepresented populations benefit from new treatments.

This is particularly important when it comes to Alzheimer’s and dementia research, as Latinos are disproportionately affected.

Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than whites.

This population are at risk because of medical conditions – high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease – that contribute to developing Alzheimer’s.

“[Latinos] are an under-studied population in dementia research. Although our center will study all people, we are in an ideal location to place a strong focus on [Latino] families,” said Dr. Sudha Seshadri, professor of neurology at UT Health San Antonio and founding director of its Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases said in a press release.

Salud America! is a partner with the Glenn Biggs Institute, which last year became an NIH-designated Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

Our team helps the Glenn Biggs Institute promote Alzheimer’s disease information and communicate to reduce barriers Latinos encounter when navigating clinical trial participation.

“We are excited to be a part of this amazing work to address Alzheimer’s and related dementia, which harm Latinos in South Texas and beyond,” said Dr. Ramirez.

Dr. Ramirez is also creating new ways to encourage Latinos to volunteer for Alzheimer’s and cancer clinical trials, with help from Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.

“Latinos in clinical trials are not only helping themselves, but they are also building a future with better treatments that can help their families and communities in the future,” Dr. Ramirez said.


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