News Brief

New Season of Medidata Podcast Explores the Multifaceted Issues of Diversity in Clinical Trials

Data shows that more than 80% of U.S. clinical trial participants are non-Hispanic white*, leading to concerns about access to experimental treatments by members of diverse communities. Season two of Clinical Minds, the leading life sciences podcast by Medidata, a Dassault Systèmes company, looks at diversity in trials, trust, and access to care for all. 

The podcast series includes interviews with leaders in medical ethics, clinical research, and medical regulation, with episodes featuring the following speakers: 

Episode 1, Nov. 24 - Medical ethicist and professor Harriet Washington, author of “Medical Apartheid The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present” provides essential context through which to view today’s challenges to trust in science.

“Frequently when we question the dissemination of healthcare goods among blacks and whites, when they're lower among black people, we often invoke black people's reported fear of medical treatment, fear of medical research,” said Washington. “But that's a mistake on several levels, especially when we invoke Tuskegee. In fact, Thomas LaVeist when he was at Johns Hopkins did a series of articles pointing out the fallacy of invoking Tuskegee when it's actually four centuries of abuse in the medical arena.” 

Episode 2, Dec. 1 - Dana Dornsife, founder of the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, an organization that aims to improve patient access to cancer clinical trials, discusses the personal struggles people endure to find care.

Currently our black and brown communities are really grossly underrepresented in cancer clinical trials, and we need to fix that,” Dornsife noted in the podcast. “We do that by addressing some of the additional barriers that those communities face, which are historical barriers around egregious medical behaviors that have taken place in the past, cultural barriers, language barriers, and finally socioeconomic barriers where the social determinants of health really do have an impact on the outcome of someone's cancer journey.”

Episode 3, Dec. 8 - Dr. Fabian Sandoval, CEO and Research Director of the Emerson Clinical Research Institute in Washington, DC, looks at diversity in research through the lens of a clinician in the trenches. Dr. Sandoval is also a two-time Capital Emmy® Award winner and host of the weekly medical TV show, “Tu Salud Tu Familia” (Your Family, Your Health) on Telemundo.

“All of my staff are bilingual,” noted Dr. Sandoval. “Some are trilingual, and that's very important because patients need to feel comfortable speaking to someone without having to translate in their head what's going on so that they can express their feeling, their condition to someone. And if you can do that, it makes such a difference.” 

Episode 4, Dec. 16 - The government’s role in increasing diversity and access is addressed by Dr. Jovonni Spinner, Associate Director for Outreach and Communications in the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity at the FDA.

Dr. Spinner shared that the FDA is working to “increase the participation of diverse populations in clinical trials that test new medical products, through a variety of different strategies like hosting public meetings, developing different tools and resources, and also issuing guidance documents. And because clinical trials provide a critical base of evidence for evaluating whether a medical product is safe and effective, enrollment in clinical trials should definitely reflect the diversity of the population that is ultimately going to use the product.”


Medidata’s Clinical Minds podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts and on the Medidata website.

For more information, contact Paul Oestreicher, external communications director at 

*Applied Clinical Trials