Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) today announced $ 5 million in scholarships to promote diversity among the next generation of clinical trial leaders as part of an initiative to improve care health for all.
The Abbott Park, Ill.-based medical device and drug developer and manufacturer said its initiative also included forming the Medical Advisory Council on Diversity in Research, funding improved access for women and communities under-represented in Abbott’s trials, and convening patient advocates, industry experts, investigators and physicians to develop and share ways to increase the diversity of clinical trials.
The FDA has encouraged greater gender and ethnic / cultural diversity in clinical trials to improve the safety and effectiveness of medical products for all who will use them, but factors such as trust, access to site and communication barriers often prevent various patients from participating in trials.
“It cannot be overstated how important it is for people considering participating in a clinical trial to have a doctor or nurse who looks like them, speaks their language and understands their needs and those of their community,” said Dr. Melvin Echols, cardiologist. and associate professor of medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine and a member of Abbott’s new medical advisory board, said in a press release.
Morehouse is one of four HBCU medical schools partnering with Abbott for nearly 300 scholarships over the next five years, along with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Howard University College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, the National Black Nurses Association. and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses.
âThe best health care product is one that helps the most people, delivering the greatest benefit,â Abbott President and CEO Robert Ford said in the press release. âAs an industry, we need to set new standards to ensure that our clinical trials remain representative of the people our products are designed to help. “
Medical design and subcontracting emphasized the importance of diversity in the medical technology industry, including opportunities for leadership, research, design and manufacturing enhancement.