The Power of Community Collaborations & Partnerships for Achieving Diversity in Clinical Research

By: Luther T. Clark, MD, Deputy Chief Patient Officer, Merck

Barriers to participation of racially and ethnically underrepresented patients in clinical trials include: (1) mistrust, (2) fear, (3) lack of comfort with the clinical trial process, (4) lack of information about clinical trials, (5) logistical constraints such as time and out-of-pocket expenses.  In addition, social and economic factors  (the social determinants of health) may negatively impact patients’ willingness to participate in clinical research.

Meaningful patient and community engagement can help achieve diversity as well as advance both science and patient care.  In addition to helping empower patients to be more active participants in their medical care, appropriate and meaningful engagement between trusted community stakeholders (participants, patients, caregivers, patient advocacy organizations and leaders) and researchers (clinical trial sponsors, investigators, clinical research sites) can help effectively address the perspectives and priorities that are important for patients  — those who will be impacted

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