Diverse family

Clinical research needs greater participant diversity

COVID spotlights the troubling disparity in clinical research representation. How can we remove these barriers?

By Perla Nunes, Applied Clinical Trials

The pandemic has brought to light many economic and social disparities in the US—and the inequality in clinical research is one of the most troubling over the long term. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “of all forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhuman.” The time is now for the clinical research industry to embrace and invest in innovative strategies that ensure equal representation and diversity of clinical trial participants.

“Minority populations were three times more likely to experience complications from COVID-19 but were not equitably represented in clinical trials for the vaccine,” says Greater Gift board member Harsha Rajasimha, PhD, CEO and Founder, Jeeva Informatics Solutions, Inc. “This challenge presents itself across varying disease states. We must build trust in minority communities to ensure that we are all equitably represented in research.”

Historically, social determinants of health have certainly played a part, as has the ingrained mistrust of the healthcare systems. Wariness of healthcare and clinical research is well-founded, and stems from historical events that adversely impacted racial and ethnic minorities, such as the unethical Tuskegee experiments. Read more …