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Equitable Breakthroughs in Medicine Development (EBMD)

Aerial photograph of Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT

Yale School of Medicine, in collaboration with the Morehouse and Vanderbilt schools of medicine and the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Coordination Center program of the National Institutes of Health located at Morehouse, is participating in an initiative aimed at increasing diversity in clinical trials, with grant funding from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

The COVID-19 pandemic made it clearer than ever that disparities exist between the care and attention that most Americans get and those experienced by underserved and underrepresented communities. Diverse clinical trials are an important way to ensure that all communities receive equitable access to participate in the development of potential new treatments.

This is a pilot program that allows the participating institutions to partner with patients, providers, industry leaders, technical experts, and the community at large to bring clinical trials directly to underrepresented and underserved patients. Over the next 18 months, the participating institutions will work to build and support a network of 10 initial community-based sites.

Clinical trial diversity is an issue of fairness. People who may want to participate in a clinical trial should have information about how to do so and be able to access the trial more easily. Right now, many people, particularly from communities of color and rural communities, may not be asked to participate or may not have easy access, effectively depriving them of the choice.

Barriers to participation can include:

  • Limited access to trial sites in historically underrepresented communities.
  • Limited diversity among investigators and staff who serve as community leaders for clinical trials.
  • The financial and time burden trials can place on patients, especially when there isn’t a site located close to where you live.
  • Patient mistrust grounded in experiences with medical bias and historic wrongs.

What makes this collaboration different is it brings together pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions, subject matter experts, providers, and community leaders. Ideally it means that as sites are established, they will have a ready-stream of potential studies from the pharmaceutical industry and beyond to support the sites. What also makes this initiative different is the intentional focus on mentorship and training opportunities for diverse investigators and staff.

Yale School of Medicine is proud to participate, and anticipates great benefits for underserved communities, for medical science, and for society at large.

PhRMA's Equity Initiative

Enhancing clinical trial diversity is a highly complex challenge that requires a community-based, multi-stakeholder approach.

Learn more about PhRMA’s efforts to address the systemic barriers that can deter underserved communities from participating in clinical trials, so that people who want to participate, can.

Program Leadership

Yale School of Medicine

Morehouse School of Medicine

RCMI Coordination Center at Morehouse School of Medicine

Vanderbilt University Medical Center