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January 23/30, 2018

Improving Public Health Requires Inclusion of Underrepresented Populations in Research

Author Affiliations
  • 1Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA. 2018;319(4):337-338. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.19138

Advances in genomics have ushered in promising therapies tailored to the individual. Personalized medicine is promoted and has begun to positively influence care. For example, medications such as trastuzumab for the 30% of breast cancers that overexpress ERBB2 and vemurafenib for patients with late-stage melanoma who carry the V600E variant have been beneficial.1 Despite these advances, for many sectors of the population—children, older adults, pregnant and lactating women, and individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities—limited evidence-based therapies optimized to their specific medical needs exist. Combined, these groups comprise as much as 58% of the US population (eTable in the Supplement). Research focusing on or at the very least includes members of these groups is critically needed.

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