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Advancing equitable clinical trials: A novel approach to patient recruitment

Associate Professor Tobias Janowitz and Clinical Fellow Hassal Lee led a COVID-19 clinical trial in 2021 with Northwell Health, where they noticed a surprising trend: a diverse patient roster despite no deliberate effort towards diversity. Distance plays a significant role in patient participation in cancer trials, with people less likely to enrol if the trial site is more than 30 minutes away. To address this, Janowitz and Lee developed a new approach using population maps to identify nearby hospitals in diverse communities. Their tool aims to make clinical trials more equitable by expanding recruitment efforts beyond affluent neighbourhoods where most high-volume trial sites are located. By collaborating with community health centres, they hope to increase access to trials for all demographics, potentially revolutionising clinical trial design and accessibility.

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