"I’m In"…..are you? Making strides to increase diversity in clinical trials

The face of America is changing. According to US Census Bureau data, those who identify themselves as Hispanic, Black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or mixed race will account for 51% of the US population by 2050. Unfortunately, with these changes come challenges that may affect the quality of care for these populations. 

One such challenge is recruiting clinical trial volunteers that represent the diverse population of patients who may use future medicines. We know that some medications impact patients differently and we know that clinical trials in which minorities are underrepresented may not adequately serve the health needs of these communities. We also know that regulators and other stakeholders want more data from diverse populations and delays in recruitment can keep new therapies from the patients who will benefit from them.  

When I worked as a nurse at a hospital in Philadelphia, I saw first-hand the health care disparities that affect diverse populations. According to FDA, increasing diversity in clinical trials can help researchers find better ways to fight diseases that disproportionately impact certain populations.

For the past 10 years, I've worked with various teams at GSK to develop educational and training programs to help ensure our clinical trial volunteers reflect the overall disease demographics of the potential patient population. In 2012, I was excited to have the opportunity to participate in a series of workshops hosted by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America (PhRMA) with representatives from pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies to develop a strategy to help address diversity in clinical trials.  During these workshops, my colleagues and I discussed ways to bring clinical research closer to the community, raise awareness on the importance of participation to clinical trials, develop a competent clinical trial workforce, and build connectivity among stakeholders in the clinical trial ecosystem. 

Our recommendations provided the foundation for the I’m In campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to educate people about the importance of clinical trials and participation by historically underrepresented populations, and increase participation of racially and ethnically diverse individuals in clinical trials. 

I’m proud that GSK supports I’m In and hope others will visit www.JoinImIn.org to learn more.