ACRP Calls for Renewed Efforts to Diversify Clinical Trials Workforce

Jim Kremidas, Executive Director, ACRP

Jim Kremidas, Executive Director, ACRP

Calling for a concerted effort to promote diversity in the clinical trials workforce, Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) Executive Director Jim Kremidas yesterday (February 3) said that now is the time to raise awareness of clinical research as a vibrant career option among minority populations too often overlooked by the drug and device research and development industry.

Kremidas and other panelists discussed inclusiveness in the clinical research enterprise as part of a webinar series on “Blazing a Trail to Clinical Trial Diversity.” Today’s segment on “Overcoming Operational Challenges: How Intentional Planning Leads to Patient Diversity in Clinical Trials” was sponsored by Syneos Health.

Drawing on his earlier experience in the industry, Kremidas said, “We learned that when Hispanic and African American principal investigators [and other clinical trial staff] are hired, those are the trials that tend to hit minority recruitment targets.” Kremidas spent 24 years with Eli Lilly and Company. From 1999 to 2008, he led its clinical trial patient recruitment and retention efforts. In this role, he focused on predicting and accelerating the enrollment rates for all corporate studies.

During the webinar, among other current initiatives, Kremidas outlined ACRP’s successful, and recently expanded, digital Find Your Element campaign, designed to encourage minority entry into the clinical trials industry. “We’ve had nearly 100,000 people go to our website to get more information about the program,” Kremidas said.

“We need to promote more equitable access to the clinical trial workforce,” agreed Nicholas Kenny, chief scientific officer for Syneos Health. “The work ACRP is doing is incredibly important,” he added.

Outreach to minority communities is also vitally important, said Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD, MS, chief of the Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group for the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program. “Engage community leaders” and don’t forget the importance of having good language translators as part of the outreach team as needed, she stressed.

Diversity shouldn’t be an afterthought, said Julian Jenkins, PhD, group vice president and head of Development Operations and Project Management for Incyte Corporation. “Clinical trial studies should have a diversity plan in place” at the very outset, he noted.

Jenkins and others explained there are numerous diversity-focused resources from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The Avoca Group, and ACRP among others already available for stakeholders in the industry to leverage. “It’s a matter of application and drawing on the existing tools,” Jenkins said.

Author: Michael Causey