CDC/ATSDR Policies Related to the Inclusion of Women and Racial and Ethnic Minorities in Research
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) are committed to protecting the health of all people regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.
A policy on including women and racial and ethnic groups in extramural research was published in the September 15, 1995 Federal Register. Extramural research is conducted outside CDC/ATSDR with collaborators through various funding mechanisms. The policy applies to all CDC/ATSDR extramural research projects submitted in response to CDC program announcements and solicitations announced on or after October 1, 1995.
This policy protects women and racial and ethnic minorities against inappropriate research activities. Some health conditions are unique to women while others are more prevalent. For some illnesses, there are marked distinctions between men and women in onset and progression of disease. There are also differences in preventive treatment and educational approaches necessary to combat certain diseases. Furthermore, entry into the health care system may be different for some subgroups of women, such as low-income and uninsured women. Women and members of racial and ethnic minority groups should be adequately represented in CDC/ATSDR-supported studies involving human subjects unless a clear and compelling justification establishes that inclusion is inappropriate or not feasible.
This policy does not apply to those projects in which the investigator has no control over the composition of the study population (e.g., cohort studies in which the population has been previously selected or research to follow-up outbreak investigations).
Intramural research is conducted by CDC/ATSDR staff. CDC and ATSDR have guidelines for inclusion of women and members of racial and ethnic minority groups in such research. The guidelines are intended to ensure that individuals of both sexes, regardless of sexual orientation, and of various racial and ethnic groups are included in CDC/ATSDR studies involving human subjects whenever feasible and appropriate. Furthermore, CDC and ATSDR work to identify gaps in knowledge about health problems that affect women and racial and ethnic minority populations and to encourage studies that address these problems.
For more information about inclusion of women and racial and ethnic minorities in CDC/ATSDR research visit:
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Page last modified: August 12, 2010
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2010