Increasing ethnic minority participation in substance abuse clinical trials: lessons learned in the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Clinical Trials Network

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2011 Oct;17(4):345-56. doi: 10.1037/a0025668.


Underrepresentation in clinical trials limits the extent to which ethnic minorities benefit from advances in substance abuse treatment. The objective of this article is to share the knowledge gained within the Clinical Trials Network (CTN) of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and other research on recruiting and retaining ethnic minorities into substance abuse clinical trials. The article includes a discussion of two broad areas for improving inclusion-community involvement and cultural adaptation. CTN case studies are included to illustrate three promising strategies for improving ethnic minority inclusion: respondent-driven sampling, community-based participatory research, and the cultural adaptation of the recruitment and retention procedures. The article concludes with two sections describing a number of methodological concerns in the current research base and our proposed research agenda for improving ethnic minority inclusion that builds on the CTN experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Culture
  • Ethnicity* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups* / psychology
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (U.S.)
  • Patient Selection*
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Substance-Related Disorders / ethnology*
  • United States