BMSF commits $100 million to improve diversity in clinical trials

BMSF commits $100 million to improve diversity in clinical trials

The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and National Medical Fellowships have announced a $100 million partnership aimed at improving diversity in clinical trials.

Leveraging $100 million of a $300 million commitment from Bristol Myers Squibb and its foundation in support of efforts to advance health equity, the partnership will work to extend the reach of clinical trials into underserved patient populations in urban and rural communities in the United States. To that end, the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Program will train two hundred and fifty new clinical investigators from racially and ethnically diverse populations and/or who have demonstrated a commitment to increasing diversity in clinical trials; introduce two hundred and fifty promising medical students from underrepresented groups to clinical research career pathways; and assist program investigators in strengthening their research capacity and standing up new trial sites in communities with diverse and heavily burdened patient populations.

According to the FDA, about 80 percent of patients taking part in clinical trials in the United States are white, while Black Americans, who account for 13 percent of the U.S. population, comprise about 7 percent of clinical trial participants. To help address that disparity, the program will collaborate with communities of color and others to facilitate an approach to clinical and translational research that is community-informed, designed, and conducted, and will provide sponsorship, support, and tools that emerging investigators need to conduct clinical trials that lead to the development of new treatments that are effective in all populations. 

"Clinical research is necessary to generate evidence demonstrating the efficacy and safety of new treatments," said Robert Winn, director of the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, who chairs the program’s national advisory committee. "While the patient response to medical therapies may differ across racial and ethnic subgroups, clinical trials often fail to represent the demographic diversity of the populations that these products aim to serve. I am proud to serve as an advisor to this program, which will support improvements toward diverse representation in clinical research and promote health equity."

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