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Racial and ethnic disparities among the clinical research workforce: Insights and opportunities

By Emily Botto, Maria Florez, Adrelia Allen, Ruma Bhagat, Ellyn Getz, and Kenneth Getz, The Association of Clinical Research Professionals

Clinical trial participant diversity has been a key topic in the pharmaceutical industry for decades. The subject first entered the literature following the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) Revitalization Act of 1993 and was further propelled into the spotlight by the African American Heart Failure Trial in 2004. Research conducted following these landmark documents has shown that racial and ethnic diversity in clinical trial participant populations can help identify variations in treatment outcome, thereby increasing the accuracy and safety of results across populations. Despite mounting evidence of the importance of participant diversity in the drug development process and an increasing number of initiatives to promote it, low representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) among the global clinical trial participant population persists.

As the issues surrounding participant diversity become better understood globally, driven in part by new guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and publication requirements from peer-reviewed journals, more eyes are turning to the next frontier in drug development diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI): the clinical research workforce. Studies regarding the effect of diverse healthcare professional (HCP) staff in improving outcomes for BIPOC patient populations indicate that addressing established racial and ethnic disparities in the global clinical research workforce may be an important element in promoting participant diversity. Read more …