Advancing Clinical Trials Through Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion in clinical trials helps ensure that research data accurately reflects treatment across populations, enabling development of therapies that benefit all patient groups. Representing the full spectrum of patients in research also makes trials more ethical by providing equal access to potentially beneficial treatments regardless of demographics.
Clinical trial site diversity is important for ensuring that clinical research is inclusive and representative. Having trial sites in diverse geographic locations and communities allows for enrolment of participants from different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. This provides data that more accurately reflects how a treatment will perform in real-world usage across patient demographics. Selecting trial sites at hospitals, clinics, and community health centres that serve minority populations is key to driving site diversity. Data also shows that when a site is staffed by representative staff, patients from diverse backgrounds are more likely to trust, and participate in a clinical trial.
Effective patient engagement of diverse populations starts with community outreach, education, and building trust. Forming partnerships with local organisations and leaders to act as liaisons can help engagement efforts in minority communities. Ensuring the consent process is conducted in the patients' preferred language and accounting for health literacy levels aids understanding. Transportation assistance, flexible clinic hours, and other accommodations can help reduce barriers to trial participation.
Collecting voluntary patient data on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and other demographics is vital to understanding how different populations respond to treatments. This allows analysis of clinical trial results by subgroups to identify variations in safety and efficacy across demographics. However, data collection must be implemented carefully to avoid worsening existing health disparities or biases. The benefits of collecting demographic data must be clearly explained during recruitment and consent processes. Representation and inclusion ultimately improves clinical research integrity and social equality.
To learn more on this topic, the opening keynote panel discussion at this year’s COG West Coast features industry experts from Meharry Medical College, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCSF), and Genentech. The panel is designed to address challenges faced when achieving diverse, equitable and inclusionary clinical trials.
Complimentary attendance is reserved for pharmaceutical, biotech, health and academic representatives.