Clinical Research

Diversify Clinical Research

NMF is expanding its ambitions and impact from supporting aspiring and practicing BIPOC physicians and health professionals into the research frontiers of medicine. Through several innovative programs that offer clinical research career pathways, professional development, and mentoring, NMF is providing an onramp for physicians and students underrepresented in medicine to become clinical investigators and lead community-oriented research.  

Clinical research in medicine lacks diverse investigators, and far too often, it fails to inclusively select participants. A 2021 study published in Future Oncology found that 84.2% of clinical trial participants in Phase I trials of biopharmaceutical oncology agents were white, and there was minimal representation of Blacks/African Americans (7.3%), Asians (3.4%), Hispanics/Latinos (2.8%), or other race/ethnicity groups.

Pie chart graphic showing that 84.2% of clinical trial participants are white. 7.3% are Black, 3.4% are Asian, 2.8 % are Latino, and 2.3% are other.

There is an urgent need to increase cultural competency in clinical trials and begin to heal the well-earned mistrust that communities harmed by inequity and mistreatment have for the health care establishment. By diversifying the investigators who lead clinical research, NMF is opening the door for individuals who might otherwise never consider participating in a research study. Increasing underrepresented patient participation in clinical research will help lead to therapeutics and disease prevention efforts that have greater efficacy across all populations.

To accomplish these aims, NMF leads an expanding array of programs that provide clinical research opportunities to diverse medical students and physicians — and support their efforts to lead community-oriented clinical research.

With the support of Janssen, the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and Merck, NMF launched the National Medical Fellowships Diversity in Clinical Trials Research program in 2021. It provides physicians with the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to engage in clinical trial research. It also offers ongoing opportunities for mentoring and networking that can help physicians successfully build a career focus in clinical research.

Clinical research is a critical area of investment and leadership for NMF.

We will engage new funders and partners to expand our impact in advancing BIPOC-led medical research that is inclusive of all populations — particularly of members of the BIPOC community.

We will offer mentorship and networking programming to support diverse clinical investigators in advancing their research and careers.

We will engage the alumni of our scholarships and clinical research programs to call for diversity in research within their institutions and specialties.

We will position NMF as a recognized leader of a national effort to diversify clinical research and eliminate health disparities.

icon of DNA and a magnifying glass