Optimizing Patient Diversity and Engagement with Lori Abrams and Linda Sullivan
How can you best engage patients in the design and execution of your clinical trials? That’s one of the important topic discussed in Lori Abrams’s interview with Linda Sullivan, MBA, Executive Director of WCG’s Metric Champion Consortium (MCC). Abrams is the Executive Director of Patient Advocacy and Diversity at WCG and the former Director of Diversity & Patient Engagement at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). It’s incredibly important to involve minority populations in your clinical trials to deal with health disparities in the United States, notes Abrams. That effort brings awareness, voice, and diversity to your clinical trials, she explains. By involving the voice of patients and caregivers in your clinical trials, Abrams adds, it can help you identify new investigators and overcome obstacles to recruitment in the clinical trial process. When you work with advocacy groups on engagement and diversity issues, make sure that the relationship is not transactional and you give them credit for the success of the project, she asserts. At BMS, Abrams started regular educational seminars that involved patients and caregiver voices, and diversity and engagement became GDO’s portion of company’s goals. FDA recently asked a company to submit a diversity plan for a Phase III study, she notes, which illustrates that we are at a “crossroads” in the clinical trials diversity effort, she notes.