Access to healthcare, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or race, is one of the many human rights declared by the United Nations in 1948. Today, on Human Rights Day, I believe we still have more progress to make in bringing clinical research to under-represented populations that would benefit from better healthcare as a result.
At Worldwide Clinical Trials, we’re working hard on diversity in clinical trials, and, as an industry, I would love to see us push innovation to areas like Africa. Human rights is not just about how we treat each other and strive for justice in the world; it extends to how we do business. In the Contract Research Organization (CRO) industry, it means how we run clinical trials, especially in countries where human rights aren’t always observed. We must identify parts of the world where clinical trials may help the ability to access better healthcare. We could bring better health to a whole continent.
My mother is from Russia, and my father is from the Republic of Congo – two countries that have experienced human rights challenges. Because of my background and my passion for diversity, I joined the Diversity Council at Worldwide so that I could work alongside leadership in creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce that can better represent our diverse spectrum of patients.
The United Nations’ theme for this year’s Human Rights Day is EQUALITY — a mission that really resonates with me. My lifelong passion for human rights began from a young age. Imagine an 11-year-old girl sitting in her home in London, having joined Amnesty International and trying to make an impact, joining letter writing campaigns for political prisoners and other unjust events and situations occurring across the world. As a young Sikh, I could never forget what my community experienced in1984 and beyond and continues in some countries.
The loudest voice at the table is not necessarily the right voice at the table. Every voice, every patient deserves to be heard, not just be weaved into the greater good for all humanity, but to respect every single person in this world, and that means breaking down the barriers that exist and building trust.
The lack of industry focus on individuals and underrepresented communities has made us step back and reflect. For too long, attention has been given to developing medicines for larger groups. We lost focus on the individual patient, whether they be of a different race, ethnicity, nationality or from a rare disease community. At Worldwide Clinical Trials, we are committed to impacting healthcare for all people across the world and tackling the problems we have faced with clinical trials in the past. We are from rich and diverse backgrounds and bring those lenses to our work to listen, learn (sometimes unlearn), to help our employees and patients.