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Increasing diversity in clinical trials can save lives. Here's how hospitals are doing that.

Racial and ethnic diversity is key in clinical trials to create effective medicine and treatment for all people.

TAMPA, Fla. — There's been a lot of talk about increasing diversity in different industries recently, but increasing diversity in clinical trials can save lives. 

That's why Moffitt Cancer Center is working with the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Association of Community Cancer Centers to provide feedback about some programs aimed at increasing racial and ethnic diversity in clinical trials. It's one of 75 sites across the country sending data to the ASCO.

Increasing diversity in clinical trials is critical because it creates more comprehensive data, leading to better treatment and medicine development.

"The goal is that the snapshot of everyone we see in the trials is the snapshot of the people who really bear the burden of the particular cancer or that particular issue," said Dr. Susan Vadaparampil, associate center director of community outreach, engagement and equity at Moffitt Cancer Center.

Historically, creating diverse samples for clinical trials has been a challenge. A lot of that has to do with the mistrust many minority communities have with healthcare.

"That's been a barrier for the healthcare community at large, to try and penetrate into minority communities more effectively to try and increase trust in the system," said Dr. Hatem Soliman, the medical director of the clinical trials office at Moffitt Cancer Center. 

The pilot project will test self-assessment tools and implicit bias training programs focused on increasing diversity among cancer treatment trial participants. The completed program will hopefully roll out to oncology centers by the ASCO in the spring of 2022.