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The persistent lack of diversity among participants in clinical trials is a critical issue that is harming both populations that have long been left out of pivotal medical studies and the entire biomedical research enterprise, according to the authors of a report released Tuesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Describing the need to move away from trials that focus largely on white men as “urgent,” the report’s authors called for a paradigm shift that gives less power to institutions that fund and conduct clinical research and more to communities under study. The sternly worded report said funding to include and recruit more diverse participants should be a priority that is enforced and said such investments could eventually lead to massive cost savings as the nation’s health disparities are reduced.

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