Partnering for participation

Leveraging relationships and respect within a physician-based advocacy organization to drive recruitment of Blacks in a diabetes trial.

A pharma company with a successful therapy for diabetes came to Inside Edge with an all-too-common challenge: the high prevalence of this disease in Blacks made the drug a potential life-changer for them, but the low level of minority participation in the original trial made it impossible to prove efficacy and safety within the population. That missing data created a significant hurdle with physicians who served these underrepresented patients.

The drug team’s solution: conduct a second study, focusing only on Black patients and designed to collect the information needed for the client to market specifically to this community and for physicians to confidently prescribe to their patients. But the project they had initiated stalled as they struggled to recruit even their relatively modest target of 150 participants.

The lead investigator — a renowned U.S. cardiologist and leading voice for underrepresented patient communities — suggested a partnership with Inside Edge and a minority-focused, physician-based advocacy organization to help bring the trial to completion. It was exactly the kind of collaborative model our team believes in, and, working together, we began to identify a new set of trial sites and a novel approach to site management: a “buddy system”.

It all rested on the powerful relationships we saw within the advocacy group. We leveraged the members’ mutual respect and common aspirations to nurture pairings of principal investigators and supporting local physicians for each of our study sites. Our unique strategy effectively multiplied both the potential recruiting pool and the importance of the trial within each community.

The shared effort, along with study materials our team updated to be more culturally resonant, delivered positive results on multiple fronts: the published study opened opportunities for increased uptake among Blacks — and opened minds to Inside Edge’s community-oriented approach to recruitment and programming.

Do you have a similar challenge and want to know more about how we could work together? Email Kristine Baffo


  • Advocacy Organizations
  • Biotech Companies
  • Medical Societies and Associations
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturers