What do you think about the appropriateness of drugs developed specifically for African Americans?
Take BiDil. I know there's a lot of controversy about it; but I really think it is appropriate. And as you get people taken
care of, it's even better.
To be honest, this is not really a new issue. Maybe we feel more open about saying it, but there have always been medicines
that worked better in some people than others. Initially, diuretics were for African Americans; they weren't for other people.
And if you look at it, there are certain diseases that are peculiar to certain populations: Tay-Sachs is peculiar to the Jewish
population; Alport's Syndrome is peculiar to white males with a certain genetic makeup.
This issue is taking on a life of its own in terms of people being somewhat critical. But to me, it's positive if it gets
patients cognizant of their health and furthers physicians' understanding of what works for one patient versus another.
Looking forward, what is the biggest issue facing science and medicine for ethnic minorities?
One thing that the National Medical Association is very interested in is increasing the number of minorities in clinical trials.
I think that would improve patient compliance because it would really make patients take ownership of their health. There
has been some historical fears about being "guinea pigs" in clinical trials; but with more minority physicians involved in
heading and conducting clinical trials, I think we'll see more participation from minorities.
Know Your Associations
The following is a select group of organizations focused on serving the needs of minorities.
Association of American Indian Physicians
Association of Black Cardiologists
Association of Chinese American Physicians
Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America
Association of Philippine Physicians in America
Hungarian Medical Association of America
Islamic Medical Association of North America
Japanese Medical Society of America
Korean-American Medical Association of the U.S.
National Hispanic Medical Association
Polish-American Medical Society
United States Colombian Medical Association (USCMA)
SOURCE: American Medical Association