The need for greater diversity in the clinical research workforce is compelling. Racial and ethnic minority healthcare professionals are more likely to serve minority populations (Cantor et al., 1996; Komaromy et al., 1996). Minority patients are more likely to select healthcare professionals with their own ethnic background (Saha et al., 1999). Consequently, healthcare professionals from racial and ethnic minority groups may be more successful in recruiting minority patients to participate in clinical research. Such efforts are critical to linking scientific advancements with quality service and delivery in underserved minority communities.
In some ways minority researchers may be better positioned to formulate the right research questions as well as to devise ways to answer them. When compared with the majority population, minority populations in the United States experience higher rates of disease and mortality (e.g., cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality), and they are less likely to receive regular, high-quality medical and preventive healthcare services (NIH, 1994; Corbie-Smith et al., 1999; Giuliano et al., 2000; Killien et al., 2000; Gifford et al., 2002). Specifically, black men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Asian Americans are more likely to get stomach and liver cancer. The American Indian population has the lowest cancer survival rates of all (Haynes, 1999). Some of these disparities can be attributed to socioeconomic differences and poorer access to