In a joint report, NACHC and the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions find that Community Health Centers represent untapped potential for advancing diversity in clinical research and ultimately improving patient outcomes. These are the results from a new survey of 226 health center chief executive officers (or their designees) and interviews with a wide range of research stakeholders. The focus of the study was on health centers research interest, processes, collaborations, and barriers.
Systemic change is needed across the US clinical research system to address the lack of diversity among research participants. Disadvantaged groups, including racial and ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ communities, continue to be excluded and underrepresented in medical research. This exclusion limits the generalizability of findings to a broader population, leading to poor health outcomes and exacerbates disparities which cost the health system $320 billion per year.
Community Health Centers, which already serve as an essential component of the health care landscape, play a critical role in advancing more equitable and inclusive research. Given their footprint in the community, patient-centered, trusted relationships, and diverse patient populations, health centers can enrich the diversity and scope of clinical studies and ultimately, enhance patient outcomes.
To highlight the critical role that health centers play in advancing more equitable and inclusive research and identify the resources and support needed to conduct and sustain these efforts, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and the Deloitte Center of Health Solutions conducted a survey of 226 health center CEOs and 22 interviews with research and clinical leaders.
Key questions explored:
- Are health centers interested in conducting research?
- What can be learned from health centers that are already conducting research?
- How can health centers that are interested in pursuing research get started? And who could they potentially partner with on research?
Most health centers are interested in conducting research
Results show that most health centers are interested in conducting research, but real and perceived barriers must be addressed to improve partnerships that broaden research participation. As one health center leader stated: “Health centers are trusted and can be the intermediary to build trust in communities that have been historically kept out of the research process and taken advantage of. But then the question is ‘how’”.
To continue reading, please download the downloadable PDF.
This research was conducted with the collaboration of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, part of Deloitte LLP’s Life Sciences and Health Care practice, and the National Association of Community Health Centers.