Restrictions On Prisoner Research Hurt Studies Of Racial Disparities, Yale Docs Say

Federal rules against including prisoners in medical research have negatively impacted studies involving black men, who are disproportionately imprisoned, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers. Individuals who are already in ongoing studies must be dropped if they are incarcerated – compromising the ability of researchers to examine racial disparities in health outcomes studies, the Yale team says in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs. “A black man who begins a research study is less likely to follow up because he is statistically more likely to be jailed or imprisoned during the study than his white counterpart,” said the study’s first author, Dr. Emily Wang, assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine. The impact of incarceration on health outcome studies was far less among white men, white women, and black women. The study found that during the past three decades, high rates of incarceration of black men may have accounted for up to 65 percent of the loss of follow-up among this group.

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