HHS Awards $2M for Lupus-related Minority Health Disparities, Including $1M to LFA

Ines Martins, PhD avatar

by Ines Martins, PhD |

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Minority participation in lupus studies

The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) was awarded a one-year, $1 million grant from the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop an education program on clinical trials that educates and recruits minorities and the disadvantaged, especially groups that are underrepresented in clinical research.

The grant is included in the National Health Education Lupus Program, an initiative to reduce lupus-related health disparities in racial minorities or among the disadvantaged under two initiatives:

The LFA grant was based on the foundation’s proposal titled “Improving Minority Participation in Clinical Trials (IMPACT) for Lupus,” to create a national model to increase minority participation and retention in lupus clinical trials.

“We are thrilled that the Office of Minority Health has recognized the important work we do as well as the influence and impact we have on the lupus community at large,” LFA President and CEO Sandra C. Raymond said in a press release. “This opportunity will allow us to encourage clinical trial participation among minorities who are disproportionately impacted by this devastating disease and often lack access to quality healthcare.”

Participation in lupus clinical trials is crucial to advance important research. Lupus patients need an arsenal of treatments, and it is important to continue researching ways to test new drugs to get targeted, safer treatments to patients faster. The effort is expected to ensure new treatments that will be effective for everyone affected by lupus.

Lupus affects minority populations two to three times more than white populations. Recent studies indicate that one in every 537 young African-American women is affected by lupus at some point in their lives. But the reasons for this health disparity remain unknown.

The grant will cover a program that will work closely with a small group of lupus key opinion leaders, lupus patients, experts in minority clinical research participation, as well as biopharma industry representatives, to develop and adapt the best possible model for minority clinical trial participation. The project began July 1 and will continue through June 30, 2017.

The LFA is a global nonprofit dedicated to lupus and committed to identifying ways to streamline and strengthen the link between research and practice by focusing on lupus disparities in minority populations. The foundation also is committed to test and evaluate targeted, community-based interventions to reduce these disparities.