Awareness and education remain vital components when it comes to promoting diversity in the clinical trial workforce and patient population, but now it’s time to transform “enthusiasm into action” by implementing meaningful programs and leveraging tangible tactics to achieve both important goals, says Rick Fisher, who’s recently moved to Velocity Clinical Research as senior director of operations.
“I’ve seen it from several sides of the clinical trial enterprise,” he says. “There’s a desire to diversify,” but many people are still waiting for specific ways to get involved. Fisher, who left IQVIA last November, believes industry across the trial ecosystem must invest in additional hiring coupled with training of new hires to propel diversity efforts to the next level.
In fact, training to promote diversity is a vital next step as part of the onboarding process for existing hires, he says. Without training to help promote diversity, other activities feel “more like checking a box” and are not really moving the diversity needle, Fisher notes.
Further, diversifying the workforce is inextricably linked to doing the same for the patient population, Fisher maintains. “If you don’t diversify, educate, and raise the level of understanding” in the clinical trial workforce, it “makes it that much harder to achieve the goals,” he says.
He’s also part of ACRP’s Ride for Diversity, an initiative designed to raise funds and awareness for promoting clinical research as a great career to underserved populations often left out of current recruitment pitches. Last June, Fisher and Sergio Armani, vice president for Large Pharma & CRO Review Services at Advarra, biked 334 miles from Pittsburgh, Pa. to the ACRP headquarters in Alexandria, Va. to draw attention to the initiative.
This year’s ride is scheduled to begin May 15 and has already raised tens of thousands of dollars in advance pledges, Fisher says. “We’re excited by the support and ready to hit the trail again to promote diversity,” he adds.
Author: Michael Causey