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Underrepresentation of Black people in medical research

The field of medical science has seen tremendous growth over the past decade and is continuously evolving. However, growth in terms of inclusion of diversity has not been much. African Americans are still underrepresented in medical research.


Although the federal government has issued many mandates to ensure the inclusion of women and minorities in all state-funded researches, the Blacks participate less frequently than Whites. A multitude of reasons exists behind this, of which mistrust of the health care system is one of the primary ones. Blacks are often less trusted and discriminated against. Logistical problems, sociocultural factors, low levels of health literacy, and specific attitudes of the Whites against Black also act as barriers to research participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


Shellaina Gordon, a Biochemistry student at Northeastern University, expresses her desire to counteract this reality. She wants to explore disease proteomics at the molecular level with a key emphasis on understanding the fundamental differences between different groups of people. She intends to learn how the complexity of medical research intersects with socioeconomic status and race in the development of treatments.


She wants to research the onset and progression of disease in different ethnic groups. Along with this, she wants to teach undergraduate students from underserved backgrounds and become a tenured professor at a research-intensive university. She was rewarded with the Goldwater Scholarship to support her career in medicine and science.


Gordon’s desire and efforts indicate the transformation we are going through. Encouraging such change-makers will help us achieve milestones both in the field of medical science and diversity inclusion. Racism and anti-Black behaviour will not sustain for a long time. The young minds will breakthrough this long driven practice of discrimination, and we will soon witness an increase in the number of African American researchers.


Kriti Vishwakarma