Health News Roundup

Black patients being left out of clinical trials, San Francisco bringing addiction treatment to patients wherever they are, and more

Health equity

Denied ‘life-extending opportunities’: Black patients are being left out of clinical trials amid wave of new cancer therapies
Caroline Chen and Riley Wong, ProPublica, September 19
Black patients aren’t getting early access to experimental cancer drugs that could improve or extend their lives. While African-Americans make up 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, the analysis found that fewer than 5 percent of study participants were black in clinical trials for 24 of the 31 cancer drugs approved since 2015.

Childhood trauma and its lifelong health effects more prevalent among minorities
Tara Haelle, NPR, September 17
Researchers first discovered a link in the late 1990s between childhood adversity and chronic health problems later in life. A new study finds that people with low-income and educational attainment, people of color and people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual had significantly higher chance of having experienced adversity in childhood.

HPV-related cancer rates outpace vaccine rates
Cara Rosner, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, September 18
Cancers linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV) rose dramatically from 1999 to 2015. The most common HPV-associated cancer among women is cervical cancer, with Hispanic and black women having higher rates than whites.

Community-Clinical Integration

A different kind of house call: Teams bring addiction care to patients, wherever they are
Lev Facher, STAT, September 17
A San Francisco program, run by the city’s public health department, is one of a handful of novel programs around the country that are taking the unusual step of delivering comprehensive treatment to people with addiction — wherever they are. These programs aim to help patients who can’t or won’t jump through the hoops of health care bureaucracy — appointments, referrals, paperwork, even obtaining a photo ID.


A decade of delays, $23 million spent, as state makes fourth try for health information exchange
Julia Werth, The Connecticut Mirror, September 20
The idea of a single health information exchange across the state of Connecticut seems simple: Gather all health information in one place and make it available to every practitioner involved with a single patient to provide the best care possible. “The state has been taking many years and spending lots of taxpayer money and has nothing to show for it,” said Dr. Jeffery Gordon, the immediate past president of the Connecticut State Medical Society. Experts agree that the ability to exchange patient information across the health care spectrum — from hospitals to private providers to pharmacists and beyond — reduces medication and medical errors, improves data collection on health outcomes, and reduces costs.