The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and National Medical Fellowships have collaborated to launch a $100m programme aimed at improving diversity in clinical trials.

Through the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Program, the partners will extend the reach of trials into underserved patient populations in urban and rural communities in the US.

Furthermore, 250 new racially and ethnically diverse clinical investigators will be trained and another 250 promising, underrepresented minority medical students would get exposure across the country to clinical research career pathways.

Additionally, programme investigators will get assistance through the initiative in building capacity and standing up new clinical trials sites in communities with diverse and heavily burdened patient populations.

Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation president John Damonti said: “We are pleased to partner with National Medical Fellowships so that this effort will benefit from their decades of experience and unmatched expertise.

“Together, we will tap the often overlooked but powerful resource of racially and ethnically diverse physicians or other physicians who have a demonstrated commitment to increasing diversity in clinical trials, working in academic medical centres, community-based practices, and Federally Qualified Health Centers.”

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The programme, which aims to enhance diversity of patients enrolled in clinical trials, will ultimately improve the development of therapeutics for all patient populations, Bristol Myers Squibb said.

By partnering with communities, it will facilitate an approach to clinical and translational research that is community-informed, designed and conducted.

Furthermore, the sponsorship, support and tools that are required for the emerging investigators to conduct clinical trials will be provided by the programme.

Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Program national advisory committee chair Robert Winn said: “Clinical research is necessary to generate evidence demonstrating the efficacy and safety of new treatments.”