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Pop-up health clinic to highlight need for clinical trial diversity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A pop-up health clinic that aims to educate people about the need for clinical trial diversity has come to Indianapolis.

Organizers of Wednesday’s “Journey to Better Health, AWARE for All – Indianapolis” event say the event is necessary to advance health equity while encouraging the public to take charge of their health.

The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation, a Boston-based non-profit, is hosting the event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Ivy Tech Community College.

CISCRP educates people on the clinical research process. Its mission is to help reduce health disparities and increase demographic diversity in clinical trials. Clinical trials are vital to evaluating the effectiveness and safety of medical devices and treatments.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration encourages diverse participation in clinical trials but says minorities are underrepresented in research, which is concerning because people of different ages, races, and ethnicities may react differently to certain products.

Researchers from the National Institute on Minority Health and Disparities found that the lack of diversity in trials has “created gaps in our understanding of diseases and conditions, preventative factors, and treatment effectiveness.” The institute points to COVID-19 vaccine trials as evidence, saying inclusive practices allowed researchers to show the vaccine’s effectiveness across all racial populations.

While at Wednesday’s event, attendees can visit more than 20 exhibit stations. Franciscan Health is offering vaccinations for flu, hepatitis A and B, pneumonia, and HPV. Shalom Health Care Center and Step-Up will also provide STD testing.

“It’s an opportunity for everyone to come from the Indianapolis community to be informed, to learn more about clinical trials, the process, what’s involved,” Joan Chambers, senior director of marketing and outreach for CISCRP. “(You can) hear from actual people who have participated in a clinical trial, who will share their experiences, along with healthcare professionals.”

Attendees can pre-register for the event, but it is not required.