Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month: ACRP’s Northern California Chapter Members Share Perspectives

In this fifth blog in a series observing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in May, three members of ACRP’s Northern California Chapter offer their thoughts on improving inclusion of these populations in clinical research.

The Northern California Chapter was founded in 1999 as an affiliate of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). As one of the largest Chapters, its mission is to serve Northern California clinical research professionals by providing robust education, professional development, and networking opportunities in support of human subject protections in clinical research.

Yonjong Choi, MS, ACRP-CP, ACRP-PM, University of Rochester Medical Center: A chance to focus on cultural and linguistic accessibility

“Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a great chance to focus on how best to increase cultural and linguistic accessibility in clinical research,” says Yonjong Choi, MS, ACRP-CP, ACRP-PM, Start-up Research Coordinator at the University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Choi is past Program Committee chair at the ACRP–Northern California Chapter and a current member of the ACRP Diversity Advisory Council. “I was attracted to clinical research by the potential to improve patient health and outcomes,” states Choi. “AAPI Heritage Month adds further momentum to ACRP’s ongoing efforts to improve clinical trial diversity.”

Vineeta Gulati, MS: AAPI Heritage Month highlights a population that might not feel heard

“Having a month that is dedicated to AAPI is extremely helpful in highlighting a population that might not feel heard, especially in the clinical research space,” adds Vineeta Gulati, MS, Director, Clinical Operations, Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases (GSID). Gulati is President and Executive Board Member of the ACRP–Northern California Chapter. “It is essential to recognize the needs of underserved AAPI populations, and to include them in clinical research on the latest treatment modalities, ensuring that we have full safety and efficacy data in these populations when the therapies reach the market. By contributing to clinical research and participating in clinical trials, AAPI populations can play a vital role in innovation.”

Meghana Rao, CCRA, Pliant Therapeutics: Time to celebrate the accomplishments of AAPI individuals

“As an Asian America, AAPI Heritage Month is really significant for me,” says Meghana Rao, CCRA, Clinical Trial Manager, Pliant Therapeutics. Rao is Vice President and Executive Board Member of the ACRP–Northern California Chapter, and is a recipient of a 2023 ACRP Continuing Education Grant to Support DEI. “This is a great time to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of AAPI individuals and talk about their journeys and the experiences that have led to success—despite challenges such as discrimination and prejudice,” continues Rao. “Overall, this is a great time to celebrate our rich cultural heritage and—in the big picture—advocate for inclusion and equity for all.”

Author: Jill Dawson