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Minority groups are underrepresented in much of clinical research, but PBS NewsHour reports there are some programs that aim to change that.

For instance, in August, researchers from the US and Canada reported in JAMA Oncology that only 63 percent of clinical trials in oncology reported the race of trial participants. Of those that did, black and Hispanic patients were underrepresented as compared to whites and Asians based on the prevalence of cancer in those groups in the US.

As PBS NewsHour reports one issue that prevents some minority groups from participating in clinical trials is getting to the trial sites. The Lazarex Cancer Foundation, it says, helps pay travel expenses for low-income patients to get to trial sites. Such funds, PBS NewsHour adds, enabled Brittani Powell to travel to Santa Monica multiples times to take part in a study while she was in middle school.

This underrepresentation, PBS NewsHour says, goes beyond clinical trials, adding that minorities are underrepresented both genomic datasets and tissue repositories. It notes that clergy members in Baltimore have teamed with Johns Hopkins University's Lieber Institute to promote the study of samples from African Americans to close the knowledge gap.