Racial and ethnic minority groups make up about 39% of the U.S. population, but these groups represent just 2% to 16% of patients in trials, according to a recent report in the Harvard Business Review. The clinical trial workforce is similarly skewed, with Latino and Black employees occupying only 8% and 9% of jobs respectively in science, technology, engineering and math, according to the Pew Research Center.

There are two challenges with improving clinical trial diversity: training and hiring a more diverse group of clinical professionals — who could more easily gain the trust of different racial and ethnic groups — and recruiting a more inclusive pool of participants. To address both problems, the Keck School of Medicine of USC is collaborating with schools across the university to address the issue through an array of approaches, including specialized hiring programs and direct engagement with underserved community members.

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