Novartis Invests in Historically Black Med Schools to Advance Trial Diversity
Novartis has committed $17.7 million to establish clinical trial centers at three historically black medical schools in an effort to help increase diversity, equity and inclusion in clinical research.
Under its Beacon of Hope program, the company will allocate funds for the creation of clinical trial centers of excellence at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C. and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, where trials of underrepresented populations will be conducted by racially diverse investigators and site staff.
“Not only do we have to expand our faculty of experts, but we also have to train and put in play a future pipeline of scientists to lead that process. The ability to do that rests, of course, on having resources; this grant from the Novartis U.S. Foundation allows us to continue to build out those resources,” said Hugh Mighty, dean of Howard University College of Medicine.
Pharma giants Merck and Sanofi are also participating in Novartis’ initiative, vowing to run trials through the three newly announced centers and an additional center at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta that is now operational and gearing up to initiate its first trial. Last July, Novartis pledged about $13.7 million to that school to set up a clinical trial center of excellence and two additional digitally enabled research centers.
The Beacon of Hope program has committed more than $50 million over 10 years, according to the company.