“A diverse workforce can better understand and respond to the unique healthcare needs and concerns of underrepresented communities, ultimately leading to more inclusive and effective clinical research,” says Jonathan Watanabe, UCI professor of clinical pharmacy and planning committee co-chair of the recent NASEM workshop. Steve Zylius/UCI

Because addressing diversity in clinical research is essential for achieving health equity, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine hosted a workshop Oct. 16 and 17 in Washington, D.C., on the opportunities and challenges of preparing the future workforce in drug research and development. UCI professor of clinical pharmacy Jonathan Watanabe, director of the campus’s Center for Data-Driven Drugs Research and Policy and co-chair of the workshop’s planning committee, delivered the opening remarks. “To achieve our vision of a more efficient, effective, person-centered, inclusive and integrated healthcare delivery system, we must address issues related to the lack of diversity and develop … career paths and incentives for academics and primary care and community-based practitioners,” he said. The NASEM workshop offered a neutral, independent venue in which stakeholders from government, academia, industry, foundations, patient groups and other organizations could meet to discuss and confront issues of mutual interest and concern.