The historical exclusion and exploitation of underserved and underrepresented communities, namely women, people of color, and LGBTQIA communities, in clinical research and healthcare has a lot to do with the overwhelming lack of diverse representation in clinical trials.
According to the FDA’s 2020 global report, 76% of participants in clinical trials were white and about 48% of clinical studies presented racial information. There is a lot of work to do in rebuilding the trust between healthcare and marginalized communities and breaking down systemic inaccessibility to healthcare, including within clinical research. It is important that research is inclusive and provides a wide representation of participants of varying gender, race, class, sexuality, etc. because the potential adverse effects for groundbreaking study drugs can vary by person. Sponsors can advance diversity and inclusion in clinical research by many different methods.
Ensure diverse representation in paid advertising.
When an advertisement appears in someone’s view, it is very common for them to create a personal connection with the image. With that, study advertisements play an important role in recruiting and retaining study participants. At Clinically Media, we create graphics with diverse representation. That way, readers and viewers can envision themselves as potentially benefiting from clinical research studies. It shows that not only is medicine being curated for people experiencing their medical condition, but they are also aware that the research study is being organized for all.
Translate materials in multiple languages.
Diverse representation can also be achieved by translating and distributing study materials. In 2021, Clinically Media assisted Brickell Biotech’s axillary hyperhidrosis study. This research consisted of 50+ clinical research sites across the United States. Study flyers, application instructions, posters, etc. were provided to all Spanish applicable sites. This enabled Spanish applicable research sites to recruit and retain Spanish speaking participants. There are numerous translation services, such as, TransPerfect, SDL, Acolad, and LanguageLine Solutions, to use and are top certified service providers with experience and knowledge in clinical research FDA guidelines. Creating Spanish materials, Clinically Media made the hyperhidrosis study more accessible to Spanish speaking volunteers.
Increase accessibility to clinical trials.
Recently, we started a partnership with Uber Health. Through this partnership, we will be able to provide transportation to and from a research study site for participants. We recognize not all participants have access to transportation and hope to reach more participants through this partnership and make it that much easier for our volunteers to participate in clinical studies.
Continuing education on diversity and inclusion in clinical trials.
As patient recruiters, we play a crucial role in reaching and enrolling diverse study participant populations. We strive to build diverse recruitment and retention campaigns through the above mentioned ways as well as educating ourselves through webinars and networking events. For example, our team attended the National Psoriasis Foundation event on Psoriasis in Skin of Color and received a certification for completing the Dermatology/Rheumatology Collaborative with a Focus on Skin Color. Taking the time to listen to doctors and researchers on their experiences in and outside of the medical office, we learned about the continued effects of healthcare inequities. It is important that we hold ourselves accountable to actively attend events like these to make changes in all areas of clinical research.
Enhancing clinical trial diversity is vital from both a scientific and moral standpoint. As more improvements with health inequities are made, future volunteers from all backgrounds and identities will be more likely to join clinical trials. Overall, this will positively affect the discoveries when companies test the safety and efficacy of study drugs for the entire population and will improve the lives of many patients of all identities. At Clinically Media, we are continuously working on efforts to ensure the clinical trials we are supporting are accessible to all by learning more about diversity and inclusion and expanding our efforts and impact.