This week, 500+ health care and community members from over 150 organizations came together at PhRMA’s first stakeholder workshop focused on improving diversity in clinical trials. At the virtual workshop, titled “Partnering for Health Equity: Advancing Research Through Representative Clinical Trials,” participants joined breakout discussions, panels and facilitated conversations designed to pressure test actionable ideas to enhance clinical trial diversity. Topics included:
- The Root Causes of Health Inequity
- The Patient Perspective
- Building a Sustainable Community Based Infrastructure Focused on Clinical Trial Diversity
I had the chance to speak with Terri Carmichael Jackson, JD, executive director of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association about that last point. She shared how community leaders can use their influence to help build vaccine confidence among underserved communities, including Black and Brown Americans, and why the participation of diverse Americans in clinical trials is important for future vaccines and equitable public health outcomes. A clip from that conversation is below.
At the workshop, we also heard from patient and community advocates, including Jason Resendez of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Center for Brain Health Equity and Tom Anderson of the Association of American Indian Physicians. Many of the participants highlighted the need for trusted health messengers, clinical trial sites and touchpoints located in underserved communities, sustained community outreach and transparent and standardized success metrics.
Policymakers – including Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, Chair of the Presidential COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force; Senior Advisor of the White House COVID-19 Response Team; Associate Dean, Health Equity Research, Yale School of Medicine; and Director, Equity Research and Innovation Center, Yale School of Medicine, and Robin Kelly, MA, PhD, Congresswoman from Illinois 2nd District – shared how the public and private sectors can come together on this important issue.
Participants across the workshop agreed that no one company or organization can move the needle alone – it’s going to take collaboration from across the clinical trial and health care ecosystem. But with PhRMA member companies responsible for a large share of clinical trials, we’re well-positioned to collectively make a difference in this space. Biopharmaceutical industry leaders, including Alexander Hardy, CEO of Genentech, and Ramona Sequeira, President of U.S. Business Unit and Global Portfolio Commercialization at Takeda, shared how their companies are taking steps to help achieve greater equity in our health care system and the clinical trials process.
Making progress will take time and effort, and we look forward to continuing this work to bring about real change in the clinical trial ecosystem. In coming weeks and months, PhRMA will be sharing clips, insight, and reports coming from the workshop. See those reports and follow our efforts on improving health outcomes for patients in underserved communities here.