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National Medical Association Seeks to Increase Diversity in Clinical Trials

National Medical organization forms partnership with AstraZeneca to improve clinical trial education for African American physicians

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Medical Association (NMA) announced today a new partnership with AstraZeneca to enhance its program to educate and train African American physicians about the clinical trial process and encourage participation.

Currently, African American physicians are underrepresented as clinical trial investigators.(1) Increasing the number of African American physicians that participate as principal investigators in clinical trials is significant because they are more likely to treat African American patients(2) and can provide valuable insights into cultural and biological nuances.(3) "The inadequate representation of minority physicians engaged in clinical research impacts the quality of medical care provided to our racially and ethnically diverse patient population," said Albert Morris, MD, president, National Medical Association. "It is imperative that we elevate the level of knowledge of clinical research in our communities and achieve greater participation of minorities in clinical trials if we are to improve the quality of care provided to our patients. This is why the National Medical Association has partnered with AstraZeneca to strengthen and support initiatives such as Project IMPACT (Increase Minority Participation and Awareness of Clinical Trials)."

The NMA's partnership with AstraZeneca will expand the reach and depth of Project IMPACT, a program that is focused on increasing involvement of minority physicians and their patients in the clinical research process. Specifically, Project IMPACT has established a database of over 500 African American physicians interested in clinical research. Project IMPACT has also conducted over 33 educational training sessions for African American physicians, and has developed and disseminated over 30,000 pieces of culturally sensitive educational material to consumers.(4)

"Through our partnerships with the National Medical Association and the Interamerican College of Physicians and Surgeons, AstraZeneca is taking an important first step to address the disparity of minority representation in clinical trials," said Cathy Bonuccelli, MD, vice president, External Scientific Affairs, AstraZeneca. "We acknowledge there is much to be done when it comes to addressing this issue, so we are committed to continuing our partnerships with NMA and ICPS, as well as exploring other areas of opportunity to increase diverse clinical trial participation."

AstraZeneca's significant grant to the NMA, to be distributed over a five year period, forges an ongoing partnership with the National Medical Association that ensures physicians of diverse backgrounds receive the resources they need to play a more significant role in clinical trial management and recruitment.

About the National Medical Association

The National Medical Association (NMA) is the nation's oldest and largest professional organization representing the interests of more than 30,000 African-American physicians and 24 medical specialties. The NMA was established in 1895 and remains committed to improving the health status and outcomes of African Americans and underserved populations. For additional information about the NMA, visit:

    (1) Clinical Research Center, Morehouse School of Medicine.

    (2) Gray B, et al. Patient-physician pairing: Does racial and ethnic

        congruity influence selection of a regular physician? Journal of

        Community Health, 1997. 22(4): 247-59

    (3) Gavin, James R. 2006. ''Opportunities and challenges for enrichment of

        the diversity pipeline,'' PowerPoint presented at an University of

        Pennsylvania School of Medicine Academia and Industry Symposium on

        Diversity and Inclusion, October 6, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    (4) NMA Project IMPACT Fact Sheet.

CONTACT: Reese Stone or Alisa Mosley, , both of NationalMedical Association (NMA), +1-202-347-1895

Web site:

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Posted: April 2007