Diversity Summit Reveals Ways Biotech Can Better Integrate Diverse Populations

Dr. Augustus White, III, author of Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care and a pioneer in equitable care delivered the  keynote address at this year’s Diversity Summit at the 2011 BIO International Convention in Washington, D.C. The Summit brought together an esteemed panel of speakers to discuss integrating diverse and underserved populations with the medical, agricultural, and energy research industries. 

Panelists included Freda C. Lewis-Hall, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Pfizer; Vivian W. Pinn, Ph.D., Director, Office of Research on Women’s Health, NIH; Gary A. Puckrein, Ph.D., President & CEO, National Minority Health Month Foundation, Inc.; and Elena V. Rios, M.D., M.S.P.H., President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association and President, and the National Hispanic Health Foundation.

The panel discussion revealed the dire need for reaching out to diverse groups. Patients have died because they did not feel as though they had the right to ask questions to their medical provider, partially due to the cultural differences between patients and their doctors.

Strategies to increase participation of traditionally underserved groups includes supporting science education, increasing employment opportunities, encouraging participation in clinical trials, and providing access to innovative technologies that heal, fuel, and feed the world.

According to Dr. Vivian Pinn, medical journals should require study submissions to include a breakdown of different populations involved in clinical trials and be encouraged to have a more diverse trial population. Dr. Gary Puckerin added that biotech companies need to realize that the consumer is changing; the industry needs to address the growing market to effectively create treatments and cures for diverse populations.

Download a podcast of Dr. Augustus White.

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