African Americans

It is an unfortunate fact that many diseases affect African Americans more than other groups. For example:

  • African Americans are more likely to have stomach cancer than other groups. Men have higher rates of lung and prostate cancer. Breast cancer is more common in African American women under 45 and they are more likely to die from this disease than other women.
  • African Americans are twice as likely as non-Hispanic white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes. They are also more likely to have kidney disease; be hospitalized; and to die from diabetes.
  • African Americans have higher rates of high blood pressure. Men are more likely to die from heart disease. Women are more likely to be obese.
  • African American infants are almost four times as likely to die from causes related to low birth weight compared to non-Hispanic white infants.
  • African Americans are more likely than white adults to have a stroke. Men are 60% more likely to die from it. Survivors are more likely to become disabled and have difficulty with daily activities.

The fastest and safest way to determine whether new treatments work for these and other diseases is through clinical research. Yet it’s often difficult to find volunteers - especially minorities - willing to participate in clinical trials. There is a shortage of participants in clinical research and minority participation is even lower than in the general population.

Cultural Ambassadors

Although African Americans suffer disproportionately from such diseases as diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers, they are underrepresented in clinical trials. The Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI) is collaborating with the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church to help increase the participation of the local African American community in clinical trials.  The partnership helps ensure that clinical studies are designed to combat diseases that affect New Haven’s African American community.

Representatives of AME Zion Church, one of the nation’s oldest African American denominations, are serving as cultural ambassadors to Yale’s research programs,  advising investigators how best to raise awareness of clinical research. YCCI provides cultural ambassadors with intensive training on clinical research topics so that they are able to answer your questions about participating in research. It is our hope that this collaboration will increase the participation of African Americans. Our goal is to bring medical advances to patients who need them.