National Institutes of Health: The Power of Trust and Truth
CEAL is working with trusted members in communities like yours to ensure access to information that can be shared through virtual town halls, infographics, animated videos, and in many other ways – like social media posts.
Importantly, we also will be encouraging participation in research studies designed to stamp out COVID-19 in high-risk communities.
That’s because clinical trials, the fundamental part of the scientific process, show whether new medicines and vaccines are effective at protecting you against disease.
When a drug gets approved and your doctor prescribes it for you, you are not wrong to wonder whether it has been tested and shown to work — and especially shown to work for people like you.
This is why it is so important for research studies to include people from all races, genders, ages, socio-economic classes and more.
We simply need to learn who is likely to benefit the most from any given treatment. In other words, we can’t develop effective drugs and vaccines to conquer COVID-19 in communities of color without the active participation of the people who live there.
We strongly believe that when done right, inclusive research leads to solutions that get us where we need to be. We already have safeguards in place to ensure historic wrongs are not repeated, and that safe and ethical standards are practiced consistently.
The Food and Drug Administration, review boards, and expert panels at the NIH—indeed, each institution and company conducting medical research—rigorously review every phase of a clinical trial, from before it begins until after it ends.
These review boards include not just scientists, doctors, and experts, but also community advocates who keep a watchful eye on the process.
While these factors are critical to ending this public health emergency, we must keep our eyes on an even bigger prize—a nation without the disturbing health inequities that compromise the health of our whole society.
As clinicians who have cared for countless patients of color, as mentors who have supported underrepresented groups, and as members of communities where each one teaches one, we fully understand the power of community to make a difference in the long fight against this conquerable problem.
We firmly believe that by traveling this journey together—by sharing sound information, by squashing misinformation, by being responsible citizens and building trust in science—we can push this deadly pandemic into retreat.
Hopefully when that happens, we can embark on a path of inclusion that gives everyone in America a fighting chance for a long and healthy life.
Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., Director National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute
Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D., Director National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities