The NMA Hits Major Clinical Trials Milestone

doctors looking at patient's x-ray
(BlackDoctor.org) — The National Medical Association (NMA) has been steadfast in its commitment to increase diversity in all aspects of the clinical trial process, especially among clinical investigators and volunteer participants.

In 1999, the NMA established Project I.M.P.A.C.T. (Increase Minority Participation and Awareness of Clinical Trials) to coordinate its efforts to educate African Americans about research, develop physicians as effective clinical investigators and facilitators of research in minority communities. Led by Principal Investigator Dr. James Powell, a certified physician investigator, the project has provided various levels of education and intensive training to over 5000 health professionals in the United States and the Caribbean. This is a remarkable achievement upon which the NMA continues to build.

“It is the National Medical Association’s position that African American patient and physician representation in clinical trials is generally inadequate, compromising the quality and validity of clinical trial findings used to treat African Americans,” says Dr. Cedric M. Bright, NMA President. As such, the NMA is committed to increasing physician and consumer diversity and participation in all aspects of the clinical trial process.

The NMA in partnership with the Association of Black Cardiologists will conduct its signature Good Clinical Practices and Skills Building program in December. Good Clinical Practices training ensures compliance with specific regulations and guidelines that govern human medical research.

“It is not enough to educate and increase awareness, place physicians into a database and think that they are now ready to participate in clinical trials,” said Yolanda Fleming, Project Director of I.M.P.A.C.T. “The NMA is dedicated to providing ongoing education and support for our trained physicians. Further, we combine this with an aggressive campaign to educate the public and combat the history, myths, and distrust associated with clinical trials in the minority community. As the nation’s trusted association of physicians, we are able to make the case to our community” said Dr. Bright.

“My patients are better served by the knowledge and skills I gained from attending the I.M.P.A.C.T. training,” said Dr. John McAdory, an Internist in Miami, Florida and graduate of the I.M.P.A.C.T. program. “As a clinical investigator, I contributed to the “evidence” in evidence-based medicine and as a result both my patients and I have benefited from the experience.”

There are numerous other success stories from NMA physicians and patients who have participated in clinical trials. The program is crucial for minority physicians and other health professionals interested in conducting clinical trials. The two day Good Clinical Practices program features clinical research experts from government, academic, industry, and private practice. This continuing medical education program will cover such topics as Investigator Responsibilities, Adverse Event Reporting, Food and Drug Administration Regulations, Informed Consent, Successful Clinical Trial, Cultural Competency and Ethics.

The NMA continues to move this groundbreaking project forward and plans additional workshops, training sessions and other events for physicians and consumers in 2012.  Project I.M.P.A.C.T seeks to assure that the NMA truly makes an “impact” in the area of clinical trial participation in minority populations. Building on a strong educational foundation, in conjunction with housing the largest minority physician database and a reputation of being an advocate for minority health; the NMA will continue to chip away at health disparities and inequities while building an “army” of trained clinical investigators.

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