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Too Few Women Leading Cardiovascular Clinical Trials

More efforts needed, such as federal and industry sponsors of cardiovascular clinical trials insisting on gender diversity of steering committees

TUESDAY, March 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The underrepresentation of women in leadership roles for cardiovascular clinical trials is discussed in a review published in the March 8 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Mary Norine Walsh, M.D., from the Ascension St. Vincent Heart Center in Indianapolis, addresses the underrepresentation of women in cardiovascular clinical trial research, focusing on the diversity among presenters of clinical trial research at the American College of Cardiology 70th annual scientific sessions.

Walsh notes that 93 percent of 42 sessions encompassing the Late Breaking Clinical Trials and Featured Clinical Research were presented by men; only three trials were presented by women, with topics of well-being, sex-specific differences in a cardiovascular trial, and a trial with only female participants. The root cause of this underrepresentation is the disproportionately low numbers of women who lead clinical trials. Efforts are being made to increase diversity in cardiovascular clinical trial leadership. However, more efforts are needed, including federal and industry sponsors of clinical trials insisting on diversity of the trial steering committee; inclusion of a diverse slate of experienced investigators in leadership positions, including steering committees; encouraging women to take on leadership roles in trials; rethinking of those eligible to present important trial results; and not limiting women to be clinical trial leaders and report results for trials relevant only to a female population.

“Scientific sessions and meeting planners only have so much influence over who is presenting at conferences,” Walsh said in a statement. “This comes down to senior clinical trialists relinquishing the podium and giving a leg up to others.”

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