Improving Diversity in Clinical Trial Volunteer Participation by Addressing Racial and Ethnic Representation Among the Clinical Research Workforces
At UCB, our vision is to ensure participants in UCB clinical trials are reflective of the populations that will ultimately benefit from our new medicines. We look for opportunities to partner and collaborate with organizations that can support and drive initiatives that will seek and include diverse patients in UCB clinical trials. This commitment to external collaborations and bringing lessons learned back to UCB ensures we are connected to best practices in the industry. A recent example of this partnership occurred with Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.
UCB, along with other peer pharmaceutical companies and Clinical Research Organizations (CROs), worked with Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development to conduct a study to characterize and examine the relationship between investigative site personnel diversity and study participant diversity. The study concluded that a diverse clinical research workforce is associated with diversity among clinical trial volunteers. It also showed that diversity in the clinical research workforce still falls short of reflecting the diversity of the global patient population and identified key areas to support increased racial and ethnic representation among site staff.
Community Engagement Program
Our Community Engagement Partner Program is one approach UCB is taking to address these findings. We aim to collaborate directly with health professionals and their local communities to listen to the community’s needs, answer questions related to clinical research, and educate about clinical trials within the community. Our goal is to create direct collaboration between health professionals and their local communities through a range of initiatives, such as:
- Listening to the needs of the community
- Answering questions related to clinical research
- Educating about clinical trials within the community
- Engaging proactively in activities such as walks, health fairs, public forums, and educational seminars
- Providing information to patients about clinical trials in their area in an easy-to-understand format
We anticipate the outcomes of these initiatives will:
- Improve awareness of the importance of diversity in clinical trials (including HCP/Staff education and training)
- Develop and foster long-term relationships with local communities and patient support groups/advocacy initiatives
- Establish a footprint in the diversity landscape to improve awareness and access to UCB clinical programs
- Increase the number of referral centers for UCB clinical programs
- Increase the number of diverse investigators identified and referred to UCB for clinical trials
- Increase the number of diverse patients participating in UCB clinical trials
Partnering for Greater Impact
UCB recently worked with industry leaders as a member company of TransCelerate to launch their Sponsor Toolkit Program for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of Participants in Clinical Trials. In addition, UCB is a proud member of PhRMA who just launched Equitable Breakthroughs in Medicine Development to further innovation and collaboration, bringing together diverse communities, patients, providers, health partners, community organizations and academic institutions to pilot a network of sustainable, connected, community-based trial sites.
Although as an industry, we still have work to do, through partnerships and initiatives such as these, we are building on a strong foundation to promote inclusion of underrepresented patients in clinical trials.
Contributors: Zoma Foster (Tufts Study); Nicole Tillery (TransCelerate Toolkit); Iris Loew-Friedrich (UCB DE&I Executive Sponsor)