Lilly Employees Help Build Diversity in Clinical Trials
Many of Lilly’s employees participate in employee resource groups (ERGs). These groups provide for personal relationship building and professional networking and serve as a source of camaraderie, celebration, and support. They also deepen understanding across Lilly that the differences in heritage, life experience, and culture reflected in our employee base are strengths that make our company dynamic and have increasingly direct ties to our business impact.
Two of Lilly’s ERGs have recently played significant roles in programs that are helping to increase the diversity of our clinical trials.
Rebuilding Trust with Minority Communities
Lilly’s longest-standing ERG, the Lilly African American Network (AAN), boasts more than 800 members. Knowing the need that exists for greater diversity in clinical trials, but also recognizing a lack of trust within the African American community around medical research, the AAN proposed a collaboration between Lilly and the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University.
The focus: to work together to build a better understanding of the lack of diversity in clinical trials today and the need for greater African American representation in the clinical trial population to help ensure that African Americans benefit equitably from advances in health research. In late 2015, Lilly signed an agreement with Tuskegee as a direct result of AAN’s work. We are now working with Tuskegee to develop a comprehensive plan, which will include research, education, and community engagement.
Expanding Clinical Trials in the Middle East
Recognizing the important role of global representation in gathering clinical data about our medicines from different regions of the world, our Lilly Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia (Lilly AMECA) ERG worked in 2015 to establish key connections between our emerging markets business area and our global clinical operations group. Late that year, our Global Clinical Sourcing Committee endorsed elevating Saudi Arabia as a Tier 1 country for Lilly clinical trials, which will result in an expansion of clinical research in the area through partnerships with local investigators, medical schools, and health care centers. This policy ultimately will accelerate the development of new medicines in general and result in bringing innovative medications more quickly to Saudi Arabia.
The work our Lilly AMECA network did to shine light on this issue and build bridges between all the necessary parties played an important role in our decision to move forward, adding to the diversity of representation in our clinical trial portfolio and enriching the process of scientific inquiry. With the addition of Saudi Arabia, countries in the AMECA region now make up approximately 25 percent of Lilly’s Tier 1 countries.