Understanding Cultural Nuances Key to Successful Hispanic-American Patient Recruitment

Nicholas Focil, Managing Director, FOMAT Medical Research

Nicholas Focil, Managing Director, FOMAT Medical Research

As the largest, and fastest growing, minority population in the United States, Hispanic-Americans represent a burgeoning patient pool, says Nicholas Focil, managing director of FOMAT Medical Research.

However, “that population is often overlooked,” Focil says. Part of the problem, he suggests, is that many American healthcare providers, particularly Caucasians, aren’t familiar with cultural nuances among the many countries that comprise Latin America. Despite being geographic neighbors, for example, recruiting Peruvian-Americans can be quite different from recruiting Ecuadorian-Americans.

There are also major differences between age groups within the Hispanic-American patient population. For example, while first-generation Hispanic-Americans born outside the U.S. will try hard to stick with Spanish-speaking doctors, those from the next generation born inside the U.S. are more open to other doctors, even if they do not speak Spanish.

Meanwhile, some third-generation Hispanic-Americans may take it even further by “pushing back” against the Hispanic side of their heritage to embrace their American culture, Focil says, adding that his observations are based more on anecdotal evidence rather than hard data.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advocates greater trial inclusion across ethnic groups. As Focil notes, “a hypertension drug aimed at 30% Hispanic-Americans, 20% African-Americans, and 50% white Americans should reflect that patient population in its clinical trials.”

Author: Michael Causey