Improving Public Health Requires Inclusion of Underrepresented Populations in Research

JAMA
January 23/30, 2018, Vol 319, No. 4, Pages 319-418
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/issue.aspx

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Improving Public Health Requires Inclusion of Underrepresented Populations in Research
Catherine Y. Spong, MD; Diana W. Bianchi, MD
JAMA. 2018;319(4):337-338. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.19138
Advances in genomics have ushered in promising therapies tailored to the individual. Personalized medicine is promoted and has begun to positively influence care. For example, medications such as trastuzumab for the 30% of breast cancers that overexpress ERBB2 and vemurafenib for patients with late-stage melanoma who carry the V600E variant have been beneficial.1 Despite these advances, for many sectors of the population—children, older adults, pregnant and lactating women, and individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities—limited evidence-based therapies optimized to their specific medical needs exist. Combined, these groups comprise as much as 58% of the US population (eTable in the Supplement). Research focusing on or at the very least includes members of these groups is critically needed.