The Association of Clinical Research Professionals

ACRP Partners in Workforce Advancement: Grow & Diversify the Workforce

Developing a larger, more diverse workforce is imperative to the existence, quality, and efficiency of clinical research and the inclusion of more diverse clinical trial participants.

Demand for clinical trials is growing faster than the workforce; a stubborn problem threatening the quality of research and undermining attempts to bring more innovative treatments and therapies to vulnerable patients.

Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and others are significantly underrepresented in clinical research and there is growing awareness of the need to address racial equality issues.

To grow and diversify the workforce, ACRP’s Partners in Workforce Advancement™ has launched ‘Find Your Element’—a digital advertising campaign to raise awareness of the clinical research profession among a diverse population of college students.

The Challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted long-standing systemic health and social inequities that must be addressed by clinical research.

  • More diverse clinical trial staffing will lead to better participation of diverse populations and provide data to improve drug efficacy and safety.

A new study by ACRP finds that clinical research workforce growth is not keeping pace with growth in clinical trial demand.

There is a growing demand for more diverse clinical research staff to help address healthcare disparities.

  • Blacks represent more than 13% of the U.S. population, but only 5% of clinical trial participants, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The disparity is even greater for those of Hispanic or Latino origin, who represent 18% of the U.S. population but only 1% of clinical trial participants.

  • Snapshot studies by the FDA, required by the 2012 Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), found stark disparities in the clinical trial participation rates of Blacks across 67 new drugs approved for use in 2015-2016 and dramatic variation by therapeutic area. Black patients, for instance, represented less than 3% of those enrolled in trials for cardiovascular and oncology diseases, but accounted for 24% of those enrolled in drug trials for psychiatric disorders.

  • A research center addressing critical issues in clinical trials run by Harvard University and the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University recently urged the industry to prioritize increased diversity in the workforce.

  • Attracting more diverse staff will help increase the number of clinical trial participants from underrepresented populations who currently have little trust in clinical research.

The Solution

Launched in January 2020, the ‘Find Your Element’ campaign has engaged a diverse group of more than 65,000 college-age students in Research Triangle Park, Miami, New Hampshire, Boston, Houston, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

Visit Campaign Website >

ACRP Partners in Workforce Advancement is committed to growing and increasing diversity in the workforce.

  • We have launched an integrated campaign to raise awareness and attract a greater mix of college students to the field, called ‘Find Your Element.’

  • Without clinical trials, critical advances in medicine, diagnostics, and prevention would not be possible, and without diverse participation in trials we cannot understand the biologic and social factors that impact health.

  • Universities, research organizations, the FDA, the Veteran’s Administration, and National Institute for Health are all looking for more diverse clinical research staff to help attract more diverse participants in clinical trials that allow new scientific discoveries to reach the people who need them.

  • These well-paying jobs allow students—sometimes with only associate degrees—to blend their love of science and discovery with patient care to evaluate medical, surgical and behavioral interventions.

  • Featuring multicultural advertising creative in both English and Spanish, the campaign highlights key reasons students from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds can “find their element” in clinical research.

Media Coverage

Clinical Trials Need to Be More Representative of Our Population

The Washington Post

The Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) is advocating a new approach to promoting diversity in clinical trials, specifically by promoting clinical research as a career to minority populations.

Studies show that most people learn about trials from their health-care practitioners. As an industry, we don’t reach out enough to minority communities to demonstrate the excellent career opportunities in clinical research. The jobs have good salaries and chances for advancement and answer to a higher calling by promoting the common good and alleviating suffering.

Read More >

The Time Is Now to Promote Clinical Trial Workforce Diversity

Applied Clinical Trials

The pandemic has thus far disproportionally impacted minority populations, and our ongoing failure to adequately represent all patients regardless of demographic background has never been more important to remedy than it is today.

How can we restore and build trust between minority patients and clinical trial researchers? And how can doing so transform healthcare by helping clinical trials better serve the broader population? These are important questions that deserve our time and attention.

Read More >

ACRP Calls for Increased Diversity Among Clinical Researchers


The importance of diversity of patients in clinical studies cannot be overlooked, nor can the importance of diversity at the C-suite level. But, it’s equally important to have a diverse clinical research team as well.

Increasing the number of minority clinical workers is a key goal of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). Not only will this help meet the growing need for additional healthcare workers in the United States, it will also make those who conduct the trials more reflective of the broader U.S. population. And if that occurs, Jim Kremidas, executive director of ACRP told BioSpace in an interview that it will ultimately lead to ensuring the patients in clinical trials will be more representative of the U.S. population.

Read More >

How You Can Help

Join ACRP Partners in Workforce Advancement

ACRP Partners in Workforce Advancement is a multi-stakeholder collaborative initiative to grow and expand the diversity of the clinical research workforce, and to set and support standards for workforce competence.

Organizations aligned with ACRP’s mission are working together to improve clinical trial quality and outcomes for patients by focusing where others have not—workforce planning, development, and assessment. Why? Because in clinical research, people are everything.

Learn More

Help Spread the Word!

Attracting diverse students to the clinical research workforce is a grassroots, community-based effort.

To help you engage with students, and to speak passionately and informatively with them about clinical research, we’ve developed a variety of resources, including a PowerPoint presentation with talking points, a fact sheet handout, and posters.

Click Here to Download