Experts' Perspectives: How Lacking Clinical Trial Diversity Impacts Public Health

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This article serves as a landing page for our 3-part series spotlighting how a lack of diversity in clinical trials has had a deleterious downstream effect on real-world care for people of color in the US, with perspective from experts across more than half a dozen specialties.

In medicine, the lack of diversity in clinical trials is the elephant in the room and has been for decades. Despite initiatives and programs geared at improving equity in healthcare, the field still falls short of achieving this goal. To recognize the conclusion of Black History Month, the HCPLive Editorial reached out to expert opinion leaders across an array of specialties for their perspectives on how this lack of clincial trial diversity has impacted real-world care and what the community can do to address this glaring issue.

(L to R): Ashira Blazer, MD; Eleesha Ellis-Cox, MD, MPH; Luisa N. Borrell, DDS, PhD; Nasrien Ibrahim, MD, MPH; Girardin Jean-Louis, PhD; Ashwin Ananthakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH; and Maya Clark-Cutaia, RN, MSN, PhD

(L to R): Ashira Blazer, MD; Leesha Ellis-Cox, MD, MPH; Luisa N. Borrell, DDS, PhD; Nasrien Ibrahim, MD, MPH; Girardin Jean-Louis, PhD; Ashwin Ananthakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH; and Maya Clark-Cutaia, RN, MSN, PhD

How Lacking Clinical Trial Diversity Impacts Public Health

Part 1: How a Historic Lack of Diversity Manifests in Real-World Care

How has the historical lack of diversity in clinical trials affected your specialty, and what specific challenges has it posed in delivering equitable healthcare outcomes for all patients within your field?

Part 2: How Lack of Trial Diversity Impacts Treatment Development and Application

In your experience, to what degree has the underrepresentation of diverse populations in clinical research impacted the development and application of medical treatments within your discipline?

Part 3: How to Address a Lack of Diversity in Clinical Trials

If the issue of diversity in clinical trials is not adequately addressed, how do you foresee it further influencing the future landscape of your specialty? What steps should be taken to ensure more inclusive and representative research practices for the benefit of diverse patient populations?

Our Experts:

Our group of opinion leaders included in this feature includes representatives for the following fields: cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology, psychiatry, pulmonology, rheumatology, and sleep medicine.

Nasrien Ibrahim, MD, MPH

Nasrien Ibrahim, MD, MPH

Cardiology:

Nasrien Ibrahim, MD, MPH, advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and founder of The Equity in Heart Transplant Project.

Ashwin Ananthakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH

Ashwin Ananthakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH

Gastroenterology:

Ashwin Ananthakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH, associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Maya Clark-Cutaia, RN, MSN, PhD

Maya Clark-Cutaia, RN, MSN, PhD

Nephrology:

Maya Clark-Cutaia, RN, MSN, PhD, assistant professor of Nursing and the inaugural Evelyn Lauder Associate Dean for Nurse Practitioner Programs at New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing.

Luisa Borrell, DDS, PhD

Luisa Borrell, DDS, PhD

Pulmonology:

Luisa N. Borrell, DDS, PhD, social epidemiologist and distinguished professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York.

Leesha Ellis-Cox, MD, MPH

Leesha Ellis-Cox, MD, MPH

Psychiatry:

Leesha Ellis-Cox, MD, MPH, board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist at JBS Western Mental Health Center and Wellstone Behavioral Health; owner of Leesha M. Ellis-Cox, MD, MPH, LLC.

Ashira Blazer, MD, MSCI

Ashira Blazer, MD, MSCI

Rheumatology:

Ashira Blazer, MD, MSCI, assistant professor of Medicine and an academic rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Girardin Jean-Louis, PhD

Girardin Jean-Louis, PhD

Sleep Medicine:

Girardin Jean-Louis, PhD, professor of Psychiatry and Neurology and the director of the Center on Translation Sleep and Circadian Sciences at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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