All Posts By

Aaron Wang

Minority Patients Recruitment in Clinical Trials

By | Clinical Trials, Diversity & Inclusion, Informed Patient, Patient Engagement, Patients | No Comments

The FDA has approved 22 new drugs in 2016, and there are 31,468 patients participated in clinical trials in total. We have been encouraging patients to join clinical trials by showing patients the benefits for them and future generations. However, we should also focus on the diversity of patients in clinical trials, rather than only increasing the total number of patients. Among all the patients participated in clinical trials in 2016, 48% were female patients and 24% were patients with color, which does not correlate with the population percentages of women and people of color in the nation. According to 2010 census, there are approximately 51% women and 30% people of color in the U.S. It is evident that women and people of color are under-presented in clinical trials, which could lead to different drug effects on women and people of color. Therefore, it is essential to encourage more minority patients to participate in clinical trials.

To recruit minority patients in clinical trials, there are serious barriers that need to be addressed. According to a Forbes report, the biggest obstacle is the lack of encouragement or support from the attending physician. Many doctors are either unaware of relevant clinical trials for their patients or not spending sufficient time on each patient. In a 2000 Harris Interactive survey, 80% of cancer patients were unaware of their potential clinical trial options. Additionally, in a 2013 Zogby survey, more than 50% of patients were still unaware of clinical trials, and only a quarter of patients learned of clinical trials from their physicians. Thus, raising the awareness of the existence and benefits of clinical trials is extremely necessary. One big reason that patients are not aware of clinical trials is due to their physicians failing to introduce clinical trials to their patients. Forbes pointed out that “with the increasing pressure to see patients more and more quickly, they simply don’t have the time to engage in lengthy discussions with patients.” However, as a physician, listening to their patients, asking for patients’ needs and helping patients as much as possible is crucial. Especially for minority patients, their diverse backgrounds may require special needs from their physician. Also, the effect of the same treatment can vary enormously across different patients. Therefore, it is vital for physicians to communicate properly with each minority patient. One communicating strategy is that doctors should transfer their language to one that different patients can understand, which will help awareness amongst minority patients. Besides, during the whole process of clinical trials, patients should decide how they want to be part of any of the processes, and physician takes the significant role of guiding and suggesting their patients. Another possible reason that stop minority patients from joining clinical trials are that many patients misunderstand and believe that an experimental treatment must be better than the standard, hence, they would rather take a placebo than finding a standard treatment through clinical trials.

We are a nation of immigrants and diversity is our reliable weapon to support society’s stability. To perfect our healthcare industry, we need to raise and spread the awareness of diversity and inclusion. Physicians are encouraged to engage with their minority patients, communicate with them, and provide the best treatments and clinical trials options for them. Physicians’ efforts can not only help minority patients at present but also benefit their future generations since there are biological changes as generations live and grow in our country. In the end, building trust and communication between physician and minority patients are the keys to recruiting more minority patients in clinical trials.

To further explore the importance of increasing minority patients recruitment in clinical trials, CHI is organizing 2nd Annual Breakthroughs in Healthcare Diversity Symposium on 1/9/18 in San Francisco, CA. The symposium is a leading collaborative symposium for patients, patient groups, clinicians, researchers, technologists, healthcare and life science executives, and diversity and inclusion advocates to discuss diversity and inclusion in healthcare. The symposium will discuss best practices, and exchange new ideas related to making healthcare more diverse, with a specific focus on understanding how to serve underserved patient groups, including racial and ethnic minorities, women, and the LGBT community. The symposium will also focus on helping provider, pharma, and other organizations who serve patients with the latest ideas and insights on how these organizations can become more diverse and inclusive in order to best understand the unique and diverse needs of the patients they serve. Attendees will learn the newest insights and ideas, discuss practical solutions, and meet industry and marketplace colleagues. Please click here for more information.



Stone, Judy. “How Can We Encourage Participation in Clinical Trials?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 8 Jan. 2015,

Tate, Wendy. “Diversity in Clinical Trials: Recruiting Women and Minorities in Research.” Forte Research Systems, Forte Research Systems Inc., 12 Apr. 2017,

Diversity among Executive Leaders: An Essence for Prosperity

By | Diversity & Inclusion, Healthcare Innovation | No Comments

Diversity in the workplace helps to spark creativity and innovation. A diverse set of experiences and opinions can offer a variety of solutions to business problems. All industries need diversity to bring forth new ideas that lead to innovation, but a lack of diversity among executive leaders is still a common problem across many fields.

A study conducted by Harvard Business School interviewed 24 CEOs from around the globe who positively advance diversity in their companies and corporate divisions. All 24 CEOs forcefully affirmed the benefits of diversity and defined it as “a source of creativity and innovation.” When employees with different backgrounds and experiences collaborate with one another, they can accomplish more than they would as individuals. The CEOs praised the remarkable benefits of promoting employee diversity, but they were also disappointed with the shortage of progress on diversity in the C-suite. According to a recent report, there are only 4 African-American CEOs at the nation’s 500 largest companies. A Forbes report last year indicated that only 4.2% of the Fortune 500 firms are led by female CEOs, and 28% have just one female director. Even worse, the inequality at the C-suite level has also promoted intolerance of leaders with diverse backgrounds. Andrea Jun, the CEO of the personal-care-products firm Avon, shared her experience that she is usually the only woman or Asian sitting around a table of senior executives, and people often assume she could not be the boss. Another similar example is shared by Ajay Banga, the CEO of MasterCard, “My passion for diversity comes from the fact that I myself am diverse. There have been a hundred times when I have felt different from other people in the room or in the business. I have a turban and a full beard, and I run a global company—that’s not common.” Executive leaders with diverse backgrounds can be treated unfairly, and their contributions can often be underappreciated. In the study, Harvard Business School also distinguished leadership styles between men and women. The conclusions of the study described women as less political, more collaborative, better listeners, more relationship-oriented and more empathetic and reasonable. Therefore, as George Halvorson, the CEO of the California-based managed-care consortium Kaiser Permanente, said, when dealing with some complex projects involving multiple layers, a collaborative leader is necessary and his experience shows that more often than not the leader turns out to be a woman. Thus, we have to admit that one certain type of executive leader is not able to handle the rapidly changing market, and executive leaders with diverse backgrounds can fulfill the demands with innovation and creativity.

In the end, it is important to embrace executive leaders with diverse backgrounds. They are the talents who can create a culture based on innovation and cooperation, and also have the courage to bring forth new ideas and break the routine.

To further explore the influence of diverse leadership, CHI is organizing the 7th annual Diversity, Inclusion, & Life Sciences Symposium on 6/15/17 in Chicago. The Symposium is the leading annual, collaborative event for life sciences and healthcare executives, physicians, HR professionals, clinical trial professionals and patients, entrepreneurs, patient groups, researchers, academics, and diversity, and inclusion advocates to discuss diversity and inclusion in healthcare. The symposium focuses on the latest trends, challenges, opportunities, and best practices for implementing strategies and tactics to make these industries more diverse and inclusive, as well as understand how to better serve diverse patient groups. Attendees will learn the newest insights and ideas, discuss practical solutions, and meet new industry and marketplace colleagues. See a video at This year’s symposium will include topics such as the role of coaching and mentoring in executive success, diversity and inclusion in clinical trials and research, and expanding definitions of diversity. Please visit for more info or to register.



Connolly, Boris GroysbergKatherine, and Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams. “Great Leaders Who Make the Mix Work.” Harvard Business Review. N.p., 27 Oct. 2014. Web. 24 May 2017.

Vinjamuri, David. “Diversity In Advertising Is Good Marketing.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Mar. 2017. Web. 01 June 2017.

Wallace, Gregory. “Only 5 Black CEOs at 500 Biggest Companies.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 29 Jan. 2015. Web. 01 June 2017.

Zarya, Valentina. “Female Fortune 500 CEOs Are Poised to Break This Record in 2017.” Female Fortune 500 CEOs Set to Break Records in 2017. Fortune, 22 Dec. 2016. Web. 01 June 2017.