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April 30, 2014 Published in From Richmond

Governor Terry McAuliffe Announces Virginia Is “All In” For Increasing Diversity In Clinical Trials

Governor McAuliffe today announced Virginia’s support for the “I’m In” campaign to encourage greater diversity of volunteers in clinical trials.  The “I’m In,” campaign launched by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the National Minority Quality Forum, seeks to raise awareness about participation in clinical trials among historically underrepresented populations through strategic outreach and partnerships. “I’m In” also supports the Forum’s Clinical Trial Engagement Network which enables prospective volunteers to connect with clinical trials and provides industry, physicians, researchers, and academic institutions with data to help focus clinical trial recruitment.

“This collaboration among many of the Commonwealth’s leading health care providers is a step forward in our effort to reduce harmful and costly health care disparities,” said Governor McAuliffe.  “By raising public awareness of the importance of patient volunteers for clinical trials and by improving our clinical trial infrastructure, Virginia will also be well-positioned to be one of the leading centers for biopharmaceutical research in the country.”

Clinical trials are important to the economy of the Commonwealth.  Over the last 15 years in Virginia, biopharmaceutical research companies have conducted more than 3,800 clinical trials of new medicines in collaboration with the state’s clinical research centers, university medical schools and hospitals.   Of these, more than 1,500 target the nation’s six most debilitating chronic diseases—asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental illnesses and stroke.

Without the patients who volunteer to participate in clinical trials, the development of new treatments would not be possible. Yet, only a small percentage of Americans participate in clinical trials and Hispanics, Asians and African Americans are alarmingly underrepresented in clinical research.  Increasing diversity in clinical trials can help to ensure more effective medicines and treatments for patients across all ethnic and racial backgrounds.

This collaboration, which is still inviting new participants, will increase public awareness of the critical need for patients and other volunteers for clinical trials; raise the visibility of participating hospitals as clinical trial centers of excellence; facilitate infrastructure improvements through public-private partnerships; and establish Virginia as the first state in the union to demonstrate how the public, clinical sponsors, medical providers, and government, working collaboratively, can power a world-class medical research network that is sensitive to patient diversity.

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