BIO addresses clinical trial diversity at CBC Annual Legislative Conference event

After two years of virtual programming, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) was held in person from September 28 through October 2 in Washington, D.C. The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) hosted a reception with several Congressional Black Caucus members, where speakers focused on the importance of clinical trial diversity, and industry and policy efforts towards this goal.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott and BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation ALC reception hosted at BIO in 2022.

At the event, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath talked about how biotechnology companies are fighting diseases that impact all communities and ensuring equitable access to science through the BIOEquality Agenda, which launched in 2020.

The BIOEquality Agenda has three goals:

  1. Improving clinical trial diversity, with the help of a website where individuals and communities can find out about current clinical trials they can be part of;
  2. Boosting opportunities for women and minorities who are working in the biotech sector; and,
  3. Working to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across biotechnology supply chains.

What is the CBC Annual Legislative Conference?

U.S. Reps. Val Demings of Florida and Steven Horsford of Nevada were the honorary co-chairs of the ALC, and this year’s theme was “Advancing Our Purpose. Elevating Our Power.”

“The Annual Legislative Conference serves as an opportunity for CBC members to connect with current and future leaders of our nation,” said CBCF Board Chair Representative Terri Sewell. “Through the unique perspectives of thought leaders, community organizers, activists, and others, we will generate the momentum necessary to propel the Black community to new heights.”

Lawmakers, celebrities, and people from across the country participate in the ALC each year to share perspectives on “issues that impact the global Black community including education, economic development, public health, voting rights, civic engagement, as well as social and environmental justice,” according to the CBC.

“For decades, the ALC has served as the cornerstone for participants, fostered critical discourse, educated the public, and has served as a launching pad for mobilizing communities. This mission continues, as we reconvene rejuvenated and ready to advance the needs of the global Black community.”

Watch highlights from the remarks at BIO’s reception:

Transcript of BIO CBC ALC Reception Highlights:

BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath:

We at BIO have always been committed to how our biotechnology companies of which we number over a thousand are working to combat diseases that impact all communities.

When I joined BIO a little over two years ago, we recommitted to our destiny to make sure that we are addressing health equity as well as fighting for innovation.

So, we started our BIOEquality Agenda, where we really had three goals. One is to improve clinical trial diversity. To that end, we now have a website called the Power of Participation that allows all communities to find out about clinical trials they can participate in. Number two: to bring more exposure to women and minorities who are working in the biotech space and looking to move up and expand. And three: to partner with our supply chain so that we are highlighting businesses that support biotechnology that are also working to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.

So, it was such a pleasure to have Congressmen McEachin and Scott here tonight with us.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA):

We’re fighting a bunch that just seem fixated on making sure people do not have health care. The idea that they were able to block Medicaid expansion so long was just reprehensible because the fact is the state actually made a profit by expanding Medicaid.

The rural hospitals couldn’t survive unless you expanded Medicaid and to add insult to injury, 400,000 – we thought it was, I think it’s up to 700,000 – people without insurance do know how to get sick, go to the hospital, and don’t pay. So, who pays? They call it: cost shifting. Everybody with insurance pays a little bit higher premium to offset the fact people didn’t pay.

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