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Diversity in Clinical Research: Tailoring MAC’s Studies for Inclusivity

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Diversity in Clinical Research Tailoring MAC’s Studies for Inclusivity

At MAC, we consistently prioritise subject diversity in the trials we run and manage. We highly value this commitment and, by leveraging our distinctive grasp of patient recruitment strategies, employ targeted marketing and communication approaches to cater to the varied experiences and requirements of different populations. This enables us to connect with patients at various stages of their treatment journey.

We offer specialised services built upon our expanding network of clinical research facilities, our unique understanding of the patient journey and a comprehensive awareness of patient’s cultural and geographic backgrounds. We began as an SMO but naturally developed into a CRO to serve our sponsor’s needs, all while remaining grounded in our original mission – to improve quality of life. Our unique perspective extends to recognising, and overcoming, the challenges that investigator sites may encounter throughout a trial.

We demonstrate diversity, equity, and inclusion from a patient perspective.

  • Every patient-facing campaign MAC runs includes ethnic diversity as a priority. When appropriate, we create individual digital posts tailored to specific ethnic communities to establish a more personalised connection.
  • Utilising targeted and culturally-specific platforms, such as Asian radio, is a key aspect of our approach.
  • For studies focused on conditions with a higher incidence in particular ethnic communities, we conduct thorough research to adapt our campaigns and engage with these groups. For instance, in the case of Sickle Cell Disease, which is more prevalent in the Afro-Caribbean community, we employ digital outreach and geographically targeted print media.
  • To address economic diversity among patients, we proactively cover upfront travel costs for those unable to afford their own transportation in advance. We also flexibly adjust trial visit schedules to accommodate the busy lives of participants.

MAC’s sponsors benefit from our innovative, creative, and effective patient recruitment services.

  • Our approach to patient outreach and recruitment involves the integration of techniques tailored to effectively identify and engage specific patients, considering demographic characteristics such as nationality and race/ethnicity.
  • EnVision® Symphony serves as our comprehensive patient- and study-management software solution. It provides transparency into patient demographics, trends, and enrolment patterns, offering valuable insights that shape recruitment strategies and trial timelines. The platform also enables users to track reasons why a patient may be unsuitable for a particular trial.
  • We use the influence of social media by providing high-quality content, broadening the appeal of clinical trial participation for people of all backgrounds, and partnering with influencers and diverse patient groups.
  • Further emphasising participant convenience, we facilitate communication through the participant’s preferred method and recognise variations across different demographic groups.
  • After-call surveys are conducted to gain insights into participants’ perspectives on our team’s knowledge, processes, suggestions for improvement and overall interaction.

Ensuring our study sites are accommodating for all:

  • We provide children’s toys in reception areas to accommodate patients who need to bring their children when alternative childcare is unavailable. We also extend support to individuals traveling from distant regions by offering hotel stays, recognising the impracticality of commuting within a single day.
  • To foster gender diversity, we proactively address contraception specifics early in the protocol, advocating for sponsors to consider options like abstinence based on individuals’ usual lifestyle choices. This is to support homosexual inclusion and the inclusion of individuals, especially women, who might not typically use contraception but are required to do so in protocols solely due to their reproductive capabilities. We believe in trusting individuals’ contraceptive choices in life.
  • Natural diversity is evident among MAC’s employees, and this reflects our commitment to fostering an inclusive and varied workplace; reflective of our culture and corporate values.
  • Our goal of achieving recruitment milestones ahead of time means we naturally target as wide a recruitment funnel as possible, which leads to a more diverse study patient population.

To embrace psychiatric diversity, we actively advocate for the inclusion of neurodiverse patients in our clinical research, whenever the inclusion criteria permit. We accommodate their unique needs by offering alternative methods for providing detailed explanations. Recognising the importance of time and patience, we ensure that these individuals fully comprehend the details of their involvement, encouraging them to ask as many questions as necessary, especially considering the varying points on the spectrum. In instances where a protocol may not be suitable for a particular individual, we transparently provide reasons to ensure a clear understanding of the decision.

MAC Sites’ Participant Demographics*

The UK has a diverse population and participants who enrol in studies run at our sites in England are in line with current UK population demographics:

UK 2021 population:

  • Total: 56,489,800 
  • Female: 28,833,712
  • Male: 27,656,336

UK 2021 population age distribution:

  • 0–14 years: 17.4%
  • 15–64 years: 64.1%
  • 65 and over: 18.6%
  • Age 40-49 = highest percentage of total population (15%)
  • Life expectancy: 81 years

By 2021, 2,877,000 of England’s residents had been born in India, Poland, Pakistan, Ireland, or Germany, and 26.5% were non-White.

Craig Birkbeck, Head of Global Patient Engagement Operations, explains our stance on diversity in patient recruitment:

“In the clinical trials at MAC, we firmly believe that ‘inclusion and diversity’ are not optional extras but absolute prerequisites for driving medicine forward and making an impact on lives across the globe.

Inclusion and diversity are not just words; they are fundamental to building a future where medical developments know no boundaries. Together, we are not simply advancing medicine; we are part of a global transformation, where ‘inclusion & diversity’ are the driving forces behind innovation, ensuring that healthcare reaches every corner of the world, changing millions of lives for the better.”

Contact us to find out more about our services. 

*Office for National Statistics, 2022.

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