The Center for Minority Veterans (CMV) is in the midst of a campaign last to increase the participation of minority Veterans in the VA’s Million Veteran Program.
Historically, minorities have been under-represented in clinical trials. A 2011 report published from the conference “Dialogues on Diversifying Clinical Trials,” cited that African Americans represent 12 percent of the U.S. population but only 5 percent of clinical trial participants and Hispanics make up 16 percent of the population but only one percent of clinical trial participants.
However, minority Veterans comprise 23 percent of the total Veteran population and minority women make up 33 percent of the total women Veteran population. Both populations of Veterans are projected to increase over the next 20 years as the overall Veteran population decreases. It is extremely important that VA continues to pursue avenues to ensure that more minority Veterans are represented in research studies such as the Million Veteran Program.
CMV’s campaign is an integral part of its ongoing outreach to minority Veterans via the MVP coordinator program, virtual town hall meetings, lunch and learns sessions with other federal agencies and various collaborative outreach activities with Veteran service organizations and non-governmental partners. All outreach activities routinely are coordinated with Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration and National Cemetery Administration team members to ensure that minority Veterans are receiving current information on VA benefits and services. We understand and appreciate that some minority Veterans may be reluctant to participate in this research study due to trust issues that date back to past experiments such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
A 2014 article noted that minorities are hard to reach, require a deliberate effort. “They are hardly reached,” study leader Moon Chen, the cancer center’s associate director for cancer control, said in a University of California Davis news release. Our targeted outreach efforts will assist VA in recruiting more minority Veterans to participate in the Million Veteran Program.
In related CMV news, we are partnering with Women Veterans Interactive to present a minority Veterans benefits virtual town hall on Wednesday, March 29 from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET. VA representatives from Benefits Assistance Service, CMV, Million Veteran Program and the National Cemetery Administration scheduling office will participate. To register for this event go to: https://minorityveteransbenefitsvirtualtownhall.eventbrite.com
Barbara Ward is the director of VA’s Center for Minority Veterans.