Expert featured in video discussion:

Tiffany Jordan-Whitlow Co-Founder/Chief Development Officer, Acclinate Genetics

Tiffany Jordan is an innovator and entrepreneur with 10 years of business management expertise. She’s experienced in all aspects of business formation, operation, strategic messaging, and marketing. In addition, she is a lifelong learner committed to staying on top of the best current and emerging business practices. She works hard to continue strengthening communities while fostering civic engagement through service and volunteering. At Acclinate Tiffany is able to utilize her relentless drive for diversity, equity, and inclusion to transform clinical research.

How Diversity and Inclusion Is Vital in Clinical Trials

The common assumption in any clinical trial process is that the investigators use data from a small sample group to generalize the findings to the broader population. In recent years, there have been campaigns towards the systematic adoption of the diversity and inclusion concept.

Every group, regardless of their socioeconomic representation, should determine how medical interventions affect them. It needs to contradict the assumption that trials conducted on other groups would have the same impact on the underrepresented society.

Clinical trial results influence the standards and quality of healthcare delivery. Therefore, advocates and policymakers need to direct more attention to ensure that publicly funded clinical trials benefit all of a diverse and inclusive population.

Barriers to Diversity and Inclusion

As much as there is advocacy for proper representation in medical research, challenges continue to hamper the recruitment and retention of individual segments of the population like the minority groups and other traditionally underrepresented individuals.

• The significant barriers to diversity and inclusion are;

• The fear and distrust of research bodies;

• Lack of information provided to potential participants, participant getting distracted by family and work responsibilities during research,

• Lack of proper transportation means to ferry participant to the research facility;

• The heavy burden of repeated clinical trials and trips to clinical trial sites

• The financial cost, both on the participants and researchers.

How Can We Face These Challenges?

With all the obstacles in mind, researchers need to understand the different cultural norms and beliefs then develop a well-drawn outreach plan that factors in community and institution communication channels.

Research institutions should plan for a joint effort evaluation, including community leaders and the selected study participants. They should educate and ensure that the participants understand the importance of the research findings.

Not all challenges in clinical trials involve the research institutions and the sample group. The authors, editors, and publishers of the research information should include every detail about the analyses of differences or similarities in the population subgroup by race, ethnicity, poverty level, and geographic positions.

Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical Trial

The primary intention of factoring in diversity and inclusion in clinical trials is to get a science-based medical initiative that can help eliminate the knowledge gap. Inclusion should aim to remove any inequities in the prevention, detection, and treatment of diseases despite differences in races, ages, communities, cultures, and means.

Diversity and inclusion are essential in taking medical actions that benefit most people. A more diverse sample of participants in a clinical trial will generate more accurate data representing the general population. It will also help identify groups where the treatment will not be sufficient.

During a clinical trial, it is crucial to give proper considerations to biological and psychological differences. If this does not happen, the vital differences in how a more diverse sample group responds to individual treatment are not noticed until the clinical trial is over and the medicine, drug, or vaccine in the public domain.

For example, during the clinical trial of blood thinner Plavix, the concept of diversity and inclusivity was not given much consideration. As a result, the drug fails to be as effective in African Americans as other racial groups. This finding did not come out until the drug was cleared for use.

Diversity and inclusion in a clinical trial are essential for improving the safety and efficacy of treatments to the general population. When we include the aspects sensitive to the cultural and social norms in every part of the community, the underrepresented can get more considerations during clinical trials.

The aspect of diversity and inclusion should not only target the sample population but also with health providers helping with the clinical trial recruitment process. There is a need to factor in the same diversity among the scientist that design, conduct, and interpret clinical trials and those responsible for incorporating the findings into evidence-based medical practice and health policies.

It is necessary to work with minority physicians on clinical trials to promote diversity in participants. Some patients prefer being treated only by people of their race, gender, or ethnicity.

Bottom Line

People have different lifestyles and beliefs. They also reacted differently to medical initiatives. When doing clinical trials, it is essential to factor in all aspects of diversity and inclusion with all the socioeconomic and cultural aspects. With this, every medical implementation will be useful to everyone in the population.

Discussions around Vaccine Reluctancy & COVID19

To learn about COVID-19 vaccine reluctancy click here for more information or view English and Spanish community Q&A discussions brought to you by the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, C-HIT, and Patient Orator made possible by the Connecticut Health foundation.