DEIB and the Freedom to Recruit the Best

Jessica Moffitt, Associate Recruiter, Talent Acquisition As an Associate Recruiter in Talent Acquisition, Jessica Moffitt understands how valuable the DEI&B program is to her work – day-in and day-out – and to Worldwide’s People, Strategy and Culture (PSC) program overall. Speaking personally, Jessicia says: “I have struggled to thrive in typical corporate positions that promote conformity at the expense of the individual. However, for the first time in my career I can show up at Worldwide as my best self and best employee instead of the best version of a cookie-cutter ideal. I feel secure and valued within my team as a person first and foremost because we are viewed as individuals with dynamic strengths.” As a recruiter, Jessica has been saddened to learn what some people go through to get a job – especially at organizations that have little or no commitment to DEIB initiatives. “I’ve heard about recruiters who suggested that a man with an ‘effeminate’ voice, for example, I might want to alter his voice for a phone interview. Or people with ‘ethnic’ names on a LinkedIn profile being encouraged to use names like William or Katherine on their resumes to conceal their identity.” With a solid DEIB program behind her, Jessica feels free to recruit the best possible candidates for Worldwide and to free them of...

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Mapping the Way for Transgender Inclusion in Clinical Trials

In today’s world, diversity and inclusion in clinical trials is a hot topic. Lately, the focus has been on increasing racial and ethnic minority inclusion in clinical trials to make the data more representative for them, but we are missing a large piece of the inclusion puzzle. While FDA has released several guidance documents on diversity and inclusion, the LGBTQIA+ community has been largely overlooked, specifically the transgender community. Why is this topic so important? There are currently 1.6 million people in the United States who identify as trangender1. In a recent survey, 44% of US adults say they know someone who is transgender2. So, chances are, if you’re reading this, you know of someone who fits within this growing group of people whose gender does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.   When it comes to clinical trial recruitment, how do we include, for example, transwomen (women who were assigned male sex at birth and have transitioned to female)? Recently, we were enrolling patients for a clinical trial for a genetic disorder only affecting males. During this process, a transgender woman reached out asking if she could participate while transitioning — which she should have been able to do. However, since the protocol specifically stated that only males could be enrolled, we were unable to permit...

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Access to Healthcare is a Human Right. Diversity in Clinical Trials Can Help

By Évelyne Mabouellet Newton, Director, Business Development and Aman Khera, Global Head of Regulatory Strategy,

Evelyne 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....

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Reflections on DIA’s Annual Global Meeting, Part 2

By Aman Khera, Global Head of Regulatory Strategy,

8 Practical Actions to Increase Diversity in Clinical Research For months now, clinical researchers across the world have held meaningful conversations about increasing diversity in clinical trials. COVID-19 has illuminated how essential it is for clinical research to serve all people equitably—from all walks of life, across all parts of the globe. Now, many industry leaders are ready to move on from talking about inclusion to doing something about it. At this year’s DIA Global Annual Meeting, I was both humbled and honored to chair a session with fellow experts designed to share practical strategies for taking action to bolster diversity in the clinical research space. My colleagues on the panel included: Adam Brown, founder and CEO of ClinArk; Rebecca Griffith-Eskew, VP of Clinical Operations at Salarius Pharmaceuticals; and Kirk Taylor, SVP of North American Medical Affairs at EMD Serono. Together, we provided perspectives from a mid-sized CRO, a niche clinical feasibility provider, a virtual biotech, and a multinational large pharmaceutical company. Part 1 of this blog series explored some of the inclusivity challenges discussed by the panel. This article will offer some of the group’s practical actions to enhance diversity, such as starting at the grassroots level. The panel noted that companies can play a key role in educating the public about clinical research if they engage with their...

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Reflections on DIA’s Annual Global Meeting, Part 1:

By Aman Khera, Global Head of Regulatory Strategy,

Diversity in Clinical Research: Challenges, Need & Opportunities At this year’s DIA Global Annual Meeting, I was humbled and honored to chair a panel discussion on how to increase diversity and inclusion in clinical research—and why it’s essential to do so. This article is the first of two in which I’ll reflect on the DIA session and examine the issue of diversity. First, we’ll look at what makes health equity so challenging, why we must overcome the challenges, and some considerations for moving forward. The second article will delve deeper into practical actions that stakeholders can take to enhance clinical trial diversity. As a regulatory professional, a CRO veteran and a woman of color, I’m often asked to share my experience and expertise in this space. But the panel convened at DIA expanded on my thoughts by also bringing in the perspectives of experts from a niche clinical feasibility provider, a virtual biotech, and a multinational large pharmaceutical company. The vast size of the industry’s equity challenge became immediately apparent as we kicked off the discussion by noting some of the varying definitions for the term “health equity.” For example: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health equity as “the absence of unfair and avoidable or remediable differences in health among population groups defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically.” The...

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Be Yourself: Celebrating Leaders in Diversity

By Joy Clark, Chief People Officer,

I’m excited to congratulate Peter Benton, the president and co-CEO of Worldwide Clinical Trials, for winning a Leaders in Diversity Award from the Triangle Business Journal. People who know me know I’m a passionate person. But that makes me no less proud of what this award means for Peter and for us all. It’s exciting to think about what we can accomplish at Worldwide by creating a sense of belonging—a workplace where people don’t have to hide their true selves and can be valued for who they are. Seeing Peter recognized this way speaks volumes about the collective “us.” Although Worldwide has an authentic culture of inclusivity and we are happy to celebrate Peter’s award, we are only getting started. There is much to do at Worldwide and in clinical research. My hope is that this award is a reminder of the work not yet begun and it invigorates our call to action. Lots of companies commit to hiring the best talent and simply letting the demographics fall where they may. That approach can create a copy/paste of existing demographic profiles, or it can totally invert the leadership profile. Regardless, we must be more intentional and try harder than that. What does “the best” even look like? It may not fit neatly within the traditional, historical image of leadership. But...

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Pride in Our People

Pride Month
By Peter Lammers, EVP, Global Marketing & Commercial Operations,

We are stronger together when we’re different. We are, after all, the offspring of the survivors, who solved problems by living and working in groups of people with different skills, perspectives, and experiences. Pride Month reminds us to embrace our differences and the great value they bring to life and work.  It represents more than just the LGBTQ+ community. It’s the acknowledgement that we are all unique, and our differences, when embraced, bring greater value to society and to business.

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