Dialogues on diversifying clinical trials: successful strategies for engaging women and minorities in clinical trials

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Jul;21(7):713-6. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2012.3733.


There is mounting scientific evidence pointing to genetic or physiologic distinctions between genders and among racial and ethnic groups that influence disease risk and severity and response to treatment. The diverse enrollment of subjects engaged in clinical trials research is, thus, critical to developing safer and more effective drugs and medical devices. However, in the United States, there are striking disparities in clinical trial participation. To address this problem, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women's Health and the Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR) together convened the 2-day meeting, Dialogues on Diversifying Clinical Trials. The conference was held in Washington, DC, on September 22-23, 2011, and brought together a wide range of speakers from clinical research, industry, and regulatory agencies. Here, we present the major findings discussed at this meeting about female and minority patients and physicians and their willingness to participate in clinical trials and the barriers that sponsors face in recruiting a diverse trial population. We also discuss some recommendations for improving trial diversity through new technologies and greater efficiency in trial regulation and review.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Congresses as Topic
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Ethical Review
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Human Experimentation / standards
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations
  • Minority Groups / education*
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Patient Participation / methods
  • Personnel Selection / methods*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Planning Techniques
  • Research Design
  • Research Personnel
  • Social Facilitation
  • Societies, Medical
  • Trust / psychology
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration