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Diversity in clinical research: public health and social justice imperatives


It is well established that demographic representation in clinical research is important for understanding the safety and effectiveness of novel therapeutics and vaccines in diverse patient populations. In recent years, the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration have issued guidelines and recommendations for the inclusion of women, older adults, and racial and ethnic minorities in research. However, these guidelines fail to provide an adequate explanation of why racial and ethnic representation in clinical research is important. This article aims to both provide the missing arguments for why adequate representation of racial and ethnic minorities in clinical research is essential and to articulate a number of recommendations for improving diversity going forward.

Appropriate racial and ethnic representation and fair inclusion help (1) increase the generalisability of clinical trial results, (2) equitably distribute any benefits of clinical research and (3) enable trust in the research enterprise.

  • Clinical Trial
  • Ethics- Medical
  • Public Policy

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.

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