Today the Novartis US Foundation announced a total commitment of USD 25 million to develop partnerships and fund community organizations and programs that address health inequities, with a focus on diversity in clinical trials, in the United States. This commitment reinforces the Novartis US Foundation mission to improve health in underserved communities in the United States by creating innovative and sustainable solutions to expand access to healthcare and build trust within the healthcare system.
"In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened attention on racial injustice in the US, there has been new and significant recognition of disparities in care in minority communities. We have accelerated our commitment to create innovative and sustainable partnerships that have the potential to improve health equity in underserved communities, including African American/Black and Hispanic communities," said Tom Kendris, US Country President, Novartis Corporation, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Novartis US Foundation.
Since re-focusing its mission last year, the Novartis US Foundation has committed more than USD 10 million to develop partnerships to enable healthcare systems to better meet the needs of their patients by addressing barriers to care, or by identifying changes needed to address the underlying causes of health disparities. This support included signature partnerships with New Jersey Primary Care Association, The CDC Foundation, Institute for Healthcare Improvement and USD 5 million to support COVID-19 response efforts, including 40 grants to support local communities.
A key area of focus for the additional commitment will be in addressing the vast underrepresentation of minorities, including Black Americans, in clinical trials. In 2019, African Americans/Blacks made up 13.5% of the US population, but only 9% of clinical trial participants1,2. Diversity in clinical trials is critical to understanding how medicines will work in all patient populations impacted by the disease.
"We believe the Novartis US Foundation can serve as a catalyst for change through a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment. As part of this effort, we will collaborate with partners and support industry-wide programs to improve diversity in clinical trials through systemic and policy-driven solutions that go beyond calls to study sponsors to be more inclusive," continued Kendris.