One way we are combatting underrepresentation as part of our race to health equity
In alignment with Our Race to Health Equity, Johnson & Johnson has strengthened its 20-year partnership with National Medical Fellowships (NMF) to address underrepresentation in healthcare. Through the support of training, scholarship and mentorship programs, the company’s leaders are working to make the next generation of physicians as diverse as the patients they serve.
Diverse populations have long been underrepresented in healthcare, including in both the workforce and as participants in clinical trials in which life-changing medicines and therapies are studied for safety and efficacy. The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted these inequities, along with their devastating effects. To advance health equity moving forward, prioritizing and supporting diversity and inclusion within the clinical trial landscape will be critical to ensuring that no one is left behind.
NMF, a nonprofit organization that supports underrepresented minority students in health and medicine, works to equip the next generation of physicians with skills to construct a more inclusive healthcare environment. With support from Johnson & Johnson, NMF recently introduced their inaugural class of 25 physicians into the NMF Diversity in Clinical Trials Research program (NMF Dctr). This program seeks to increase the number of underrepresented minority clinicians who serve as lead research managers or principal investigators as part of the strategy to increase participant diversity in clinical trials. Selected physicians will engage in an eight-week curriculum, followed by ongoing mentoring and networking to bridge the gap between training and practice.
“As we look to build trust and engagement in the clinical research process and help ensure greater health equity for all, it’s crucial that all potential clinical trial participants feel confident that their needs are being met,” says Staci Hargraves, Vice President, Research & Development Portfolio Management, Janssen, and Executive Sponsor of Janssen’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Clinical Trials efforts. “The Dctr program is a unique opportunity to engage diverse healthcare providers to build inclusion and trust in clinical trials, ultimately leading to a better future for patients.”
This initiative is only one of the many ways Johnson & Johnson supports NMF. The company also helped develop a new NMF Scholarship & Mentoring Program that will start in August 2021, sponsoring 20 U.S. medical school students of diverse backgrounds. These programs align with the Johnson & Johnson Our Race to Health Equity (ORTHE) platform, a $100 million commitment over the next five years to take on health inequities rooted in systemic racism.