Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

Disparities continue to create a wide gap in health in the United States. Many factors can contribute to a person’s health, and we still have much to learn about the issue. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it will be dedicating research funding to find out more about how lifestyle impacts health.

“Some of these differences may be partly due to the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age, as well as by their differences in access to health care,” Jonca Bull, MD, the FDA’s assistant commissioner for minority health, said. “But we also need to explore whether there is a biological basis for these differences, including how safe and effective a medical product might be in the individual. It’s another way to focus the lens on personalized medicine.”

The FDA is funding several projects, including:

  • Research at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, on the use of diabetes medication by Asians and Pacific Islanders living in that state
  • Examination of health disparities in HIV/AIDS in minority women conducted by Meharry Medical College
  • Research on Alzheimer disease in African Americans and whether the disease’s biologic markers have race-related differences.

Concluding her remarks on the research project, Bull noted, “The fight against health disparities is a major FDA focus, and helping to ensure that patients fully understand best practices for good health and how to safely and effectively use FDA-approved medical products are priorities.”