Pulling Back the Curtain on Clinical Trials & Diverse Patient Populations

Next Steps in Derm, in partnership with Skin of Color Update, interviewed Dr. Valerie Callender, professor of dermatology at Howard University School of Medicine. Dr. Callender explains why patients from diverse populations may be hesitant to participate in clinical trials. She shares ways researchers can overcome barriers to recruitment, and why representation among the research team matters. According to Dr. Callender, the need for diversity applies to more than subject recruitment. Hear Dr. Callender’s thoughts on the many meanings of diversity in research and what you should keep in mind to ensure your next clinical trial is inclusive.

Further Reading

If you want to read more about clinical trials and diverse patient populations, check out the following articles published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology:

Skin of Color Representation in Clinical Trials: An Analysis of Clinicaltrials.gov From 2008-2022


There is a plethora of dermatologic clinical trials; however, little is known regarding the representation of skin of color (SOC) populations. We evaluated the 15 most prevalent skin conditions in SOC patients and their representation in clinical trials over 14 years (2008-2022) to address the lack of research regarding dermatologic clinical trials and SOC inclusion. There have been 1,419 clinical trials conducted over the last 14 years regarding the 15 dermatologic conditions most commonly affecting SOC. Despite the prevalence of these conditions in SOC, Black/African American participation was greater than 50% in clinical trials for two conditions, keloids (77.9%) and seborrheic dermatitis (55.3%). Due to the disparities in inclusion, clinical trial data is difficult to extrapolate the results to SOC patients, limiting therapeutic options and potentially contributing to worse outcomes for such patients. Our study confirms that there is limited data available in clinical trials with respect to race, ethnicity, and FST. Further, it highlights how essential it is for SOC to be both adequately represented and reported in research regarding dermatologic skin conditions to ensure equality and equity in dermatologic care.

Assessing Participant Diversity in Acne Clinical Trials


A lack of clinical trials devoted specifically to treatment protocols in minority groups and diverse individuals with skin of color (SOC) exists. Treatment decisions often vary based on patient cultural preferences and have differing efficacies based on skin type. As such, it is important to evaluate the diversity of participants being included in dermatology clinical trials.

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