Women in Clinical Trials: 5 Quotes To Inspire Action

Walgreens hosted a Clinical Trials Day event in the Boston area this week where the emphasis was on women’s health in the transformation of clinical trials and healthcare innovation.
May 24, 2024 12:00 PM ET

Originally published by Walgreens Boots Alliance

By Elyse Russo

Clinical Trials Day is globally recognized on May 20, and this year, the Walgreens Clinical Trials team decided to celebrate with an event dedicated to women’s health. After all, May is National Women’s Health Month.

“Walgreens is taking action to elevate awareness about gender-specific disparities related to health, and the importance and relevance of participation in medical research,” said Kendal Whitlock, head of digital optimization for Walgreens Clinical Trials.

Whitlock was the organizer of the Walgreens Clinical Trials Day event, which was held earlier this week in the Boston area—a timely location as Walgreens just announced that a new clinical trials center will be opening in the nearby city of Malden.

Doctors, pharmacists, community leaders, advocates, academics, tech companies and pharmaceutical organizations were all represented at the Walgreens Clinical Trials event. The day was kicked off with remarks from local Congressman Jake Auchincloss, and featured keynote speakers and panels. Many of the women who participated in the Clinical Trials Day event made bold statements about the state of women’s health and how to support women’s inclusion in medical research. Here are just five of their inspirational quotes.

1. “Let’s make some noise.” 

Walgreens Chief Clinical Trials Officer Ramita Tandon shared a Walgreens clinical trials milestone that shows the company’s commitment to including women in medical research:

“As the two-year anniversary of our clinical trials business approaches, we celebrate reaching more than 4 million patients to potentially enroll into trials, and of those, more than 60% have been women. We will continue to make strides to bring trials directly to our communities and continue dialing up the noise on women’s health.”

2. “Ask and explain.”

Dr. Yvette Cozier is an investigator on the Black Women's Health Study (BWHS) and the BWHS Sarcoidosis Study at the Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston University. During her keynote, Cozier talked about how to best recruit Black women for clinical trials:

“In my research, I’ve learned that Black women want to participate in clinical research. You just have to package information so that someone like my grandmother would understand it and do it. If you ask women and explain things to them, they will join clinical trials.”

3. “Looking back informs how to look forward.” 

Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, who serves as the medical director of urgent care clinics at Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada, says history should inform healthcare professionals how we can push forward in women’s health.

“True diversity in healthcare goes beyond token representation. Acknowledging our history is essential to equip ourselves with insights needed to address trust and prevent delayed care. Afterall, our past still impacts how we’re bringing healthcare to women. The National Institutes of Health reported it takes up to 17 years for new evidence to translate into standard clinical practice, which means we’re still using practices studied more than 17 years ago.”

4. “Inclusion in the standard of care.” 

Epidemiologist Linda Goler Blount, who is also president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, wants women to feel confident in knowing they are included in developing the standard of care. 

“When we say something is evidence based, I want the women I’m talking to to know that the standard of care was created with them in mind and that they were involved in the research.”

5. “Healthy women should matter to everyone.” 

Dr. Beth Garner, who is Chief Scientific Officer of Ferring Pharmaceuticals US, makes the case for why women’s health is a topic everyone should care about.

“We all know that when women are healthy, everyone is healthy. That’s why it’s important to include people in clinical trials who look like the people who will be using your product when it’s approved. That is why it’s so amazing what Walgreens is doing in clinical trials. It’s so exciting to bring clinical trials to the people.”

Visit Walgreens.com to learn more about Walgreens Clinical Trials.