Dr. Anita Gupta on DEI in Clinical Trials

As part of Clinically Media’s mission to ensure that clinical trials are conducted with everyone and for everyone, our team met with one of the foremost authorities on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in clinical trials, Dr. Anita Gupta. Dr. Gupta is an internationally sought-after thought leader on emerging global matters, including healthcare and drug innovation, health policy, and the future of health. She was named one of Fierce Healthcare’s Top 10 Women of Influence in 2021, and is also a practicing board-certified physician. Dr. Gupta is a strong advocate for those who do not have a strong voice in healthcare and medical research, consulting with corporations, governments, non-profits, and healthcare providers to help them with providing quality care and to increase their DEI efforts in their care, research, and hiring practices. 

On June 9, 2022, Dr. Gupta joined the Clinically Media team to discuss her thoughts on the best practices for patient recruitment for clinical studies with a focus on how to ensure DEI measures are being taken. Below are some of the major takeaways from our sitdown with Dr. Gupta.

Build trust with patients

Divulging personal information, specifically personal health information, is a very intimate endeavor for patients whether it’s with their own provider or for a clinical trial. A patient needs to trust their information is safe, and more importantly, needs to trust their wellbeing will be safe under the care of an established practice and with a new potential treatment. In order to build trust when running a clinical study, individuals and organizations have to be reliable, valuable, proven secure, and convenient. Some of this can be built with experience, but some has to be portrayed through thoughtful messaging and communication surrounding the study. Equity can also build trust by having transparent relationships with relevant non-profits and community involvement.

Understand the patient experience

Trust can be more easily built by fully understanding the patient experience. The complexity of the issue arises because there is no homogenous patient experience that can be referenced for every situation. Patients vary in age, ethnicity, marital status, geographic location, and income level just to name a small portion of considerations that need to be understood. Personal schedules need to be catered to in order to get a quality experience for those running the study and participating in the study. For example, an active parent who wants to participate in a study will need to make adjustments to their childcare routine. An individual who works nights will have to adjust their sleeping schedule. Fully understanding the patient experience will lead to easier recruitment, but also better levels of retention in clinical studies as patients will feel at ease with those who have empathy and those who they trust.

Know how to communicate with everyone

Part of building trust is proper communication with patients and potential participants in clinical research. Anyone in a patient-facing role in clinical studies needs to understand how to speak to a child who is scared about confronting their disease, a person from a financially disadvantaged background who is worried about their bank account, or a trans-man who hopes there is someone on staff who understands his body. The understanding of a patient has to be properly conveyed throughout the recruiting process, from the surveys collecting data for a study to the communication between the research site employees and the patient participants. 

The Clinically Media team is extremely grateful for Dr. Anita Gupta taking the time to discuss our shared values with her, as well as giving guidance for our continued efforts in patient recruitment and retention. We support her work in improving the quality and access of healthcare around the world. Clinically Media will continue to foster and promote the shared values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in healthcare and the contributions to clinical trials.

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