Tackling the lack of diversity in health research

AC Routen , DH Bodicoat , A Willis, Shaun Treweek, Sandra Paget, Kamlesh Khunti* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

High quality health research is central to evidence-informed healthcare. By assessing evidence on treatments, initiatives and different ways of delivering services and changing practice where appropriate, health outcomes are improved. But what if that evidence routinely ignores or forgets the needs and perspectives of many in our communities? This is not an abstract question. A survey of Wellcome Trust data found that people of White British ethnicity were 64% more likely than ethnic minority groups to have participated in health research, even when accounting for socioeconomic status, age and sex (1). The
proportionate representation of ethnic minority groups in health research has not improved in ensuing decades (2). There has also been underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in COVID-19 research, including randomised trials of potential treatments, and vaccination and vaccine research (3), despite the greater COVID-19 burden experienced by ethnic minorities. In addition, communities such as the elderly, (4) disabled (5), women (6), precarious status migrants (7), sexual minorities (8) and vulnerable populations (e.g. sex
workers (9), homeless (10)) are also under-represented (or their health needs are
understudied) in health research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe British Journal of General Practice
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Jun 2022

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