The Importance of Diversity in Research:
What is a health disparity?
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, a health disparity is a health outcome that is seen to a greater or lesser extent between populations. These populations can include race, age, socioeconomic status, sex, gender identity, and disability. We can work to eliminate health disparities by ensuring all populations are represented in research, so everyone can benefit from scientific discoveries that will improve health.
Why should minority populations participate in research?
It is important that all populations are represented in research because health outcomes differ by population. Since certain diseases are more prevalent in certain groups, such as sickle-cell anemia in African-Americans, it's important that there is a diverse group of participants in any study so biological, social, and environmental factors can be studied.
Diversity is also important because the cause of the same disease can differ by population, which could result in medical professionals providing the same treatment approach for different populations. Lastly, medical treatments can vary in effectiveness within groups and even vary within individuals in the same group, which creates a need for a very diverse population of participants to ensure everyone can benefit.