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The general distrust that African Americans have of clinical trials is rooted in their strained relationships with medical researchers, some of whom long ago broke the bond of trust by putting African-American patients at risk and failing to make full disclosures.

Even so, participation in clinical research is critical today because African Americans disparately suffer from some of the highest disease rates and respond differently to many popular medicines and treatments.

Researchers such as Dr. Claudia Baquet, associate professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and director of its National Bioethics Research Center, want to re-establish public trust to ensure African-American issues and challenges are addressed.

“The reason that this is so important is that we know that the public has a lack of trust in research and also in academic institutions,” said Baquet, one of the few African-American clinical researchers in the country.

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