When news of groundbreaking Alzheimer's treatments broke earlier this summer, the communities most impacted by the disease couldn’t let out a sigh of relief just yet. Black Americans and Hispanics were screened out of clinical trials at a higher rate for the experimental drugs and may not benefit from the new developments as much as whites. Individuals can experience the same disease differently, making it critical for pharmaceutical companies to understand how the effectiveness of certain treatments varies across genetic makeups.

Addressing the lack of diversity in treatment studies is top of mind for Karim Mohammed, founder and CEO of Tranquil Clinical Research. LISC is helping finance the Houston-based organization's efforts to prioritize the inclusion of communities of color in the clinical research and development process.

Despite Tranquil Clinical Research’s success offering end-of-life treatment services for cancer patients and supporting vaccine development, and Mohammed’s 20-year track record in the field, securing capital still presented a challenge. With a line of credit already maxed out at a major bank, and trials on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic which hurt revenue, traditional lenders were hesitant to approve Tranquil Clinical Research for a loan to keep the business afloat. Mohammed considered downsizing, a move that would’ve limited the company’s ability to continue providing necessary healthcare client services, devices, and research at scale.

More inclusive supply chains can also help drive economic and healthcare equity by supporting the creation of life-changing technologies and products. Increasing investment in clinical research organizations with a focus on diversity can improve health outcomes among underserved populations. Communities of color disproportionately experience poor health and disease, yet due to mistrust stemming from a long history of discrimination by the medical establishment, lack of access, and other factors, they are underrepresented in clinical trials and research. Studies estimate that Black Americans make up about 8% of participants in clinical trials but represent 13% of the US population, and Hispanics account for 11% in trials, even though they are 16% of the national population, negatively affecting the care that people of color receive.

Read the full article about clinical trials for people of color at LISC.