Jonathan Watnabe looking at camera.
Jonathan Watanabe, UCI professor of clinical pharmacy, is the director of the newly launched UCI Center for Data-Driven Drugs Research and Policy. Steve Zylius / UCI

UCI has launched the Center for Data-Driven Drugs Research and Policy to accelerate research that tackles pressing individual and population health challenges and to address the lack of diversity in biomedical studies. Led by Jonathan Watanabe, professor of clinical pharmacy, the center will work to enhance access to high-quality care; reduce costs; improve health outcomes; and bolster the inclusion of minorities in clinical research to make it more relevant to clinicians, patients and decision-makers. Experts from across campus as well as from government, industry and nonprofit foundations will collaborate to identify, examine and confront pressing societal and health issues that impact both individuals and groups. “The inadequate inclusion of minority groups, older adults and those with multiple chronic conditions in studies is a limitation to the entire biomedical research enterprise,” Watanabe said. His efforts will include co-chairing the “Preparing the Future Workforce in Drug Research & Development” workshop in October for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. “Leveraging large-scale, population-level, real-world data, the center will empower the integration of underserved populations routinely absent from many traditional trials,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to improve clinical and health economic outcomes of individuals and populations worldwide.”