Clinical Researcher—April 2021 (Volume 35, Issue 3)
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE
Tuskegee. Henrietta Lacks. Project MKUltra. These and other names associated with reprehensible blemishes in medical research history continue to haunt us today. As COVID-19 has reaffirmed, a disproportional high percentage of African Americans and some other underserved groups remain wary of participating in clinical trials—either as patients or practitioners—in part due to certain rare, but sadly infamous, situations. It’s time we as an industry did more to work with those who are skeptical about our mission and its purpose.
Elsewhere in the pages of this issue, ACRP Association Board of Trustees Chair Erika Stevens lauds the work of our new Diversity Advisory Council (DAC). I share her enthusiasm for the people on the DAC who have come together to advance diversity in both the clinical trial patient and workforce populations. The DAC is on the verge of some exciting announcements about some game-changing initiatives. Watch this space for more on that.
However, I’d like to focus this month on ACRP’s innovative and expanding Find Your Element campaign. As you know, the demand for clinical trials is growing faster than the pool of clinical research professionals, threatening the quality of trials and undermining attempts to bring more innovative treatments and therapies to vulnerable patients.
Thanks to the support of the ACRP Partners in Workforce Advancement, the Association launched Find Your Element to help raise awareness of the clinical research profession among college students. We are devoting a special emphasis on two- and four-year colleges with traditionally high percentages of minority student populations.
Put simply, we and many others believe a key to promoting greater participation among all groups in clinical trials is to further diversity the actual clinical trial workforce. It’s widely accepted that most people learn about clinical trials from their healthcare practitioners. If we are serious about restoring trust with underserved populations, we must do a better job of recruiting and retraining a more representative workforce in our industry.
The team at ACRP is honored to help industry achieve this shared goal of greater diversity. If you’d like to volunteer your efforts in this worthy cause, we’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Kremidas is Executive Director of ACRP.