Promoting Diversity in Clinical Trials [May 1, 2024]

Historically, clinical trials did not always recruit participants who represented the individuals most affected by a particular disease, condition, or behavior. This has created gaps in our understanding of disease and can impede the quality of health care. Clinicians and researchers should carefully consider the inclusion or exclusion criteria for their clinical trials. In this session, we discussed the need for inclusion in clinical trials (the why) and heard examples of what HRA member organizations are doing to increase diversity and inclusion in clinical trials, including guidance that funders can provide to their applicants.


Barbara Bierer, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Co-Founder, Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard
Barbara Bierer, MD is a Professor of Medicine (Pediatrics) at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and a hematologist/oncologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). She received her MD from HMS. She is the director of the Regulatory Foundations, Law and Ethics Program of the Harvard Catalyst, the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Award, and the director of regulatory policy, SMART IRB. Dr. Bierer co-founded and now leads the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center of BWH and Harvard (MRCT Center), a University-wide and collaborative effort to improve the ethics, conduct, and regulatory environment for multi-site, multi-national clinical trials. She is a co-founder of COVID-19 Collaboration Platform, a platform for cooperation in research. In 2017, the MRCT Center launched the non-profit Vivli, a global clinical research data sharing platform. From 2003-2014, she served as Senior Vice President, Research, at BWH and was the institutional official for human subjects and animal research, for biosafety and for research integrity at the BWH. She initiated the Brigham Research Institute and the Innovation Hub (iHub), a focus for entrepreneurship and innovation. Dr. Bierer established and directed the Center for Faculty Development and Diversity at the BWH; for these efforts, she was the first recipient of the HMS Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award.

Alice Kuaban, MS
Deputy Director, Scientific Affairs, American Society of Hematology
Ms. Kuaban is the Deputy Director of Scientific Affairs at the American Society of Hematology. With a background in biochemistry, and passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion, she leads ASH’s strategic initiatives focused on clinical trials, emerging gene and cell therapies, and invited scientific content for the Society’s Annual Meeting.

Patricia Hurley, MSc
Senior Director, Strategic Research Initiatives, American Society of Clinical Oncology
Patricia Hurley, MSc, is the Senior Director of Strategic Research Initiatives in the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Center for Research and Analytics. Patricia is the staff lead for the ASCO Research Committee and other strategic initiatives to advance and improve oncology clinical research and ensure patients have equitable access to high quality healthcare and clinical research. Patricia represents ASCO on a variety of external multi-stakeholder collaborations and serves on committees and task forces to advance clinical research, including Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI)American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), and the Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials (OMERACT). She has served on the Board of Directors of the Sjogren’s Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters,and on the Executive Committee of CTTIPatricia has a master’s degree in health research methodology from McMaster University’s Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department in Ontario, Canada. Her expertise is in research methodology, health services research, clinical trials, measurement design and evaluation, data management, and research operations. Patricia’s career reflects her commitment to researchevidence-based quality health careequity and inclusion, and advocacy in a variety of areas, including oncology, rheumatology, pediatric rehabilitation, and child and maternal health.