Mayo Clinic students: Margaret Akinhanmi, Omar Gutierrez, and Jovanka Ravix
Mayo Clinic
Changing the Face of Research
Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science

In her quest to remedy health disparities, —comparatively poor outcomes for certain populations with certain conditions— graduate student Margaret Akinhanmi learned a disturbing fact: People of African descent with bipolar disorder are often misdiagnosed with schizophrenia.

A doctoral student in clinical and translational science, Akinhanmi scoured clinical records and research articles, finding a glaring lack of biological and genomic research involving black patients, some of whom struggled with bipolar disorder while taking the wrong medication for 10 years or more. In a recent issue of Bipolar Disorders, Akinhanmi and her co-authors concluded that more effort was needed from the research community to address these diagnostic and treatment disparities. If not for Akinhanmi, who was born in Nigeria and moved to Atlanta with her family at age 7, a measurable disparity might continue unchecked. And that meant more people would have suffered needlessly.

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