National Academies Release Report on Improving Representation in Clinical Trials and Research

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) have released a report titled Improving Representation in Clinical Trials and Research: Building Research Equity for Women and Underrepresented Groups, which aims to identify existing challenges and potential solutions to the lack of representation of populations such as women and ethnic minority groups in clinical research studies. According to the report, the underrepresentation of populations in clinical trials and research does much to harm the clinical research enterprise by compromising research findings’ usefulness to the whole population, costing hundreds of billions of dollars, hindering innovation and effective health discoveries, and undermining trust in research and medicine. The report also cites several barriers to participation in clinical trials and research by underrepresented populations including poorly designed individual research studies, structural barriers at medical institutions, decision making by research or industry funders, and biases in medical journals.

The report provides recommendations to improve representation in clinical trials and research through improvements to reporting and accountability of demographic data, incentivizing inclusion through federal incentives, developing clear guidelines for compensating research participants and their caregivers, and fostering diversity and inclusion practices in educational and workplace settings with all entities involved in clinical trials and research. The report is available for download on the National Academies website.


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