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Developing the CHIMES Trial for Minority Patients With MS: Mitzi Joi Williams, MD

The founder and CEO of Joi Life Wellness Group Multiple Sclerosis Center outlined the motivations behind the trial, as well as potential reasons for underrepresentation. [WATCH TIME: 2 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 2 minutes

“We have to take a broader look at both the institutional barriers, as well as the patient barriers, such as cost and time, which lead to the decrease in enrollment and trials.”

While emerging data suggest the risk of developing and incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS) is highest for Black people in the US—specifically Black women—minority populations continue to be underrepresented in MS clinical trials. Following her presentation at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), October 25-28, Mitzi Joi Williams, MD, board certified neurologist and multiple sclerosis specialist, and founder and CEO, Joi Life Wellness Group Multiple Sclerosis Center, spoke with NeurologyLive about the genesis of the CHIMES trial (NCT04377555), which aims at understanding this underrepresentation in a controlled setting. 

Smaller numbers of minority patients in clinical trials may be due to mistrust and the “history of unfair experimentation,” Williams said, as well as institutional barriers to enrollment and trials. Comparably, a lack of diverse researchers may also contribute to this underrepresentation, as certain investigators may be better equipped to speak to certain populations. Inclusion criteria often discount those with comorbidities, and as diabetes and hypertension are more common in minority populations, this creates another barrier to inclusion. Williams stressed the need to examine these barriers from the patient perspective, in terms of cost and time, as well as on the broader, institutional level. 

For more coverage of CMSC 2021, click here.