Who must be included in clinical research? Everyone.
While certain aspects of health are advancing, some people continue to be left behind, and this disparity is especially apparent in the clinical trials process. Pharmacogenetic research has uncovered significant differences among different groups in the metabolism, effectiveness, and side-effect profiles of many clinically important drugs. Yet, clinical trials for these therapies don’t always represent the demographics of the people who will use them.
Since 2019, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson have been working to change these dynamics, and to ensure our clinical research efforts across our organization mirror the populations that will benefit from our medicines. Our vision is a world where clinical trials are representative of the patient populations we serve, and we know that this vision can be achieved with transparency, commitment, and accountability.
Investing in reaching and recruiting underrepresented participants will only advance progress in medicine by ensuring the relevance of clinical trials to the real world. By developing and adopting inclusive clinical trial design, execution and analysis across all our therapeutic areas, we aim to ensure data and insights from underserved and underrepresented populations inform the development of safe and effective therapies and treatments.
Our Approach to Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Clinical Trials
We are scaling our approach to deliver impact across Janssen’s entire portfolio to advance health equity, close gaps in care, and create a better future for our patients. To achieve this vision, we have created a formula for success:
In 2021, we will continue to:
- Educate investigators and increase diversity of trial personnel
We are increasing the focus on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion within our clinical trials with our external partners and study sites, and working together to develop the strategies and resources needed to execute. This includes equipping healthcare personnel with educational resources and preparing them for conversations about the importance of diversity and inclusion in clinical trials. Identifying and engaging study sites with personnel who reflect underrepresented populations is also crucial.
- Remove logistical barriers
Meeting people quite literally where they are is critical to driving clinical trial participation of underrepresented populations. We can help to mitigate challenges—such as travel and time off work—by expanding the network of sites and investigators we work with to include those serving underrepresented communities, and when needed, contributing our expertise and resources to support their growth, so more people have local access.
- Establish trust through community partnerships
Understandably, many Black and Brown communities struggle to trust clinical research due to past incidents, such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, and current systemic inequities in healthcare. Engaging with trusted community figures and institutions—churches, civic groups, professional associations, and non-profit organizations—to increase transparency and disseminate accurate information about today’s clinical trial process—and protections in place for participants—is pivotal in earning trust.
Johnson & Johnson’s ongoing collaboration with the National Black Nurses Association is a key example of two organizations combining our resources and reach to achieve our shared goal of ensuring access to the highest quality of healthcare for persons of color. Since 2016, Johnson & Johnson has worked with NBNA on a variety of initiatives, including COVID-19 vaccine education, scholarships for nursing students, and nurse resiliency training and recognition efforts. We are proud of our continued work together and look forward to expanding our collaboration to include pursuing equity in clinical research.
Learn More: Research Includes Me
We encourage you to learn more about the clinical trial process, and the importance of ensuring that all people are represented. Janssen’s Research Includes Me program was created to raise awareness about clinical trials and encourage people from all communities to participate. More information can be found on ResearchIncludesMe.com.
This article is brought to you by Janssen.