Diversity in Clinical Trials Matters

Broader representation in clinical trials could impact your patients’ lives for the better – and you can make a difference.

A Significant Discrepancy

Research shows that differences in biology and genetics influence the efficacy of therapies.1 In order for results of clinical trials to be applicable to everyone, the mix of participants needs to reflect different genders, ethnicities and races.

But while it’s known that diversity in clinical research can influence the safety and effectiveness of treatment, clinical trials underrepresent women, people of color and people over age 65.2 In fact, while whites account for 66.9% of the total U.S. population, they make up 83.3% of clinical trial participants.3

of the U.S. population are Black but represent only 5% of clinical trial participants.3 


“We need to have equity, fairness and access [in healthcare]. We have to increase minority leadership and female leadership in clinical trials.”

Professor Ian Meredith
EVP, Global Chief Medical Officer, Boston Scientific 

of the population are Hispanics but they make up only 1% of clinical trial participants.4

A Closer Look at the Barriers

Including racial minorities and female clinical trial participants is a complex problem, and significant disparities persist when it comes to underserved groups understanding and accessing clinical research. In order to help shed light on the multi-faceted issue, Boston Scientific commissioned a market research study on underserved populations across the country. According to the study, here are the top reasons Hispanics and Blacks say would influence their participation in a clinical trial:

  • 47% of Hispanics and 41% of Blacks say: “It would depend on how it would help me.”
  • 42% of Hispanics and 35% of Blacks say: “I don’t like the idea of something that is not approved.”

Get at-a-glance insights like these about obstacles minorities say prevent them from following the path to treatment – and tools you can leverage to take action.

3 Ways to Improve Equal Access


1. Inform Your Patients

Increasing diversity in clinical research requires removing obstacles to participation, starting with improving your patients’ understanding of clinical trials’ benefits and risks, and the role patients play in making new therapy available. Direct your patients to a site we created just for them.

Learn more

2. Get Funding to Increase Diversity

If you have a project to identify and recruit diverse clinical trial participants or to raise awareness about the importance of inclusion, we invite you to apply for a Boston Scientific grant.

Learn about grants

3. Conduct Research Yourself

Boston Scientific provides support for research that advances medical and scientific knowledge about our products. Learn about our global Investigator-Sponsored Research (ISR) Program for qualified researchers interested in conducting their own research.

Read about the ISR

Tools to Drive Interventions

Get at-a-glance insights so you can implement outreach plans that impact your patient population.

How We’re Doing Our Part

Diversity in Our Own Clinical Trials

At any one time, Boston Scientific has dozens of clinical trials involving thousands of patients to test the efficacy and safety of new technology. As part of our efforts to lead inclusive recruitment, we try to find areas to conduct our trials that have a high level of diversity, such as our PLATINUM Diversity Trial.

Spotlight on a Pivotal Boston Scientific Clinical Trial

A randomized trial is underway comparing the Drug-Eluting Stent Below-the-Knee Vascular Stent System (DES BTK Vascular Stent System) with percutaneous transluminal angioplasty in treating infrapopliteal lesions in people with critical limb ischemia.

Bringing Education Directly to Communities

Boston Scientific is proud to support the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation’s Journey to Better Health engagement campaign. As 2020 sponsors, our staff joins a mobile exhibit bringing education about clinical research directly to diverse communities. 


Frequently Asked Questions About Pharmacogenomics, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, W. Kalow et al. Hypothesis: Comparisons of Inter- and Intra-individual Variations can Substitute for Twin Studies in Drug Research, Pharmacogenetics 8 PharmaCogentiCs, 283 (1998).
2 NCBI. Diversity in Medical Device Clinical Trials: Do We Know What Works for Which Patients? on PubMed, published September, 2018.
3 Data presented by P. Sanders in "Dialogues on Diversifying Clinical Trials," Washington, D.C., 2011 Sept 22. http://www.womenshealthresearch.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_clinicaltrials.
4 Data presented by J. Tierney in "Dialogues on Diversifying Clinical Trials," Washington, D.C., 2011 Sept 22. http://www.womenshealthresearch.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_clinicaltrials.