Q: What is the goal of the BMSF Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Program?
A: Ultimately the goal is to improve health equity by improving healthcare for underserved and vulnerable people. This program will tackle the challenge by: working within communities, establishing a career development program to train Early Stage Investigators (ESI) URM clinicians, or those with a demonstrated commitment to diversity in clinical trials and building a pipeline of diverse healthcare workers (through an investment in diverse medical students), all of which will help increase the number of underrepresented patients who participate in clinical trials. More participation by people of color in clinical trials will help healthcare providers to better treat the diseases that impact them.
Q: How will this program achieve its aims – and what makes it different than other efforts?
A: The BMSF DCTCDP will provide training and resources to build a network of 250 underrepresented ESI minority clinical investigators, or ESI investigators from non URM categories who have demonstrated a commitment to increasing diversity in clinical trials, who will be experts in community engagement as well as clinical research. Also, it will expand the number of community-based sites with the capacity to conduct clinical and translational research, through a clinical trial site development infrastructure fund. Over the longer term, it will increase the diversity of the clinical research pipeline through an investment in 250 URM medical students, equipping them to lead to lead or participate in clinical trial research via an immersive experience in clinical trials and community engagement.
Q: Why is the BMSF DCTCDP focused on the disease areas of Cancer (Hematology and Oncology), Cardiovascular Disease and Immunologic Disorders?
A: These are the therapeutic focus areas of the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation. The strategy of the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation is to fund innovative demonstration projects in these areas.
Q: Why is expanding clinical trial diversity important?
A: Clinical research is necessary to generate evidence for the efficacy and safety of new therapies and some subgroups of patients may respond differently to medical therapies due to genetic make-up.
The difference between the characteristics of clinical trial patient participants and those of patients with a specific disease can be seen across the many dimensions of diversity (both demographic and non-demographic characteristics), limiting our understanding of how our treatments might impact different patient groups, and therefore impacting the quality of our data.
Therefore, diversity of clinical trial participants is needed to help ensure that the trial population is representative of the patients who will use the medicine or medicinal product and ensure that the results are generalizable. Further, clinical trial diversity advances equity in provision of health care and accuracy of ethnicity-specific subgroup analyses.
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