Seeking Greater Ethnic Participation in the Healthcare System, Ethnicity and Disease Research Center is Founded in Boston, MA

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The ethnic disparities that presently exist in the United States healthcare system not only have deleterious effects on individual patient care, but also have a negative financial impact on providers, managed care organizations, the pharmaceutical industry, and society as a whole. Through the creation of Ethnicity and Disease Research Center, Dr. Jean Bonnet and his team in the Boston, MA area are approaching the issue in new, innovative ways that holistically engage all stakeholder groups.

Current ethnic minority groups (non-whites collectively) comprised 31.6% of the US population in 2000, and are projected to grow to approximately 52% of the population by 2050. Despite this fact, minority groups continue to be underrepresented in clinical research programs and are therefore less likely to be successfully treated with current therapies than their white counterparts. For example, according to the analysis of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program data of the Cancer Institute, African Americans are 20% more likely to die of colon rectal cancer than Caucasians, even when analysis is adjusted for age, year of diagnosis, registry, stage, and treatment. The exclusion of minority patients not only has deleterious effects on individual patient care, but has negative ethical and financial impact on managed care organizations, the pharmaceutical industry and society as a whole. As healthcare reform remains in the forefront, all stakeholders must address the vast disparities that continue to exist in minority clinical trial participation, health education, and most measures of healthcare access.

African Americans have the highest death rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers. Yet, the largest chemoprevention trial ever done in men was comprised of only 4% African Americans. Examples such as this also exist in the case of other minority groups such as Hispanics, who are 1.6 times more likely to die from complications due to diabetes than their white counterparts. Dr. Jean Bonnet, a Mattapan physician with a large minority patient population remarks, “To exclude any group, even voluntarily, is not equitable to the service and care our community deserves and expects from all of us.”

In late 2008, Dr. Bonnet and his team co-founded Ethnicity and Disease Research Center to address the issue of healthcare disparities. “It is of paramount importance to develop inclusive processes as well as new approaches and methodologies based on ethnic philosophy,” said Bonnet of his innovative approach of tackling the issue. Currently, EADRC is enrolling patients in clinical trials, hosting community education events, conducting original research, and even produces a community television program which airs in the greater Boston Area.

Ethnicity and Disease Research Center seeks to integrate a multi-racial approach of medical and social science research, with the aim of embracing and servicing all clients. Central to their mission is eliminating disparities in research and healthcare among different ethnic groups. They seek to facilitate the integration of multi-ethnic groups in healthcare research, thereby helping to close the gap of ethnic healthcare disparities. Consistent with these present needs, EADRC offers a comprehensive and inclusive framework which will improve provider-patient relationships, improve quality of care, and reduce costs.

For more information about Ethnicity and Disease Research center, please visit our website at We may be reached at info(at)EADRC(dot)com, or by calling 617-364-7414

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