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April 22, 2015

By Gary A. Puckrein, PhD


April 21, 2015 | WASHINGTON D.C.

CONTACT: Katie Morgan

202-470-5362 |

National Minority Quality Forum to Award PhRMA President John Castellani for Leadership in Increasing Clinical Trial Diversity

Castellani Conceptualized the ‘I’m In’ Campaign to Help Ensure Minority Americans are Adequately Represented When Evaluating the Safety and Effectiveness of New Medical Treatments

Gary A. Puckrein, PhD, president and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), today will present an award to John Castellani, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), for his demonstrated leadership to increase diversity in clinical trials. On behalf of PhRMA, and in conjunction with NMQF, Castellani spearheaded the “I’m In” campaign to build awareness, start conversations, and increase diversity in clinical trials, especially among African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic populations.

“Through his remarkable leadership in ensuring safety and efficacy testing for new drugs include minority Americans who have traditionally been underrepresented in clinical trials, John Castellani is paving the way for the nation to develop a set of comprehensive guidelines that will, for the first time, reflect the diverse population for whom they serve,” said Gary A. Puckrein, PhD, president and CEO of NMQF.

When a potential new medicine is developed, researchers must prove safety and effectiveness through clinical trials before the medicine is approved by regulatory agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration. Traditionally, individuals volunteer for clinical trials at the behest of their physicians, but physician referrals alone are often insufficient to attract a large and diverse group of volunteers.

“Despite making up 13 percent of the U.S. population, African Americans only represent about 5 percent of clinical trial participants, and Hispanics, who comprise 17 percent of the U.S., account for a mere one percent of participants,” added Puckrein. “A wide variety of clinical trial participants is critical to adequately assessing whether or not a drug is safe and effective on different populations, and John Castellani is the first person to truly work towards turning the tide on this risky practice.”

The “I’m In” campaign, conceptualized by John Castellani and co-founded by PhRMA and NMQF in March 2014, was created to bridge this awareness gap and encourage minority Americans to participate in clinical trials.

“Only once we include all members of our society in the testing phase of new medicines can we hope to effectively connect patients with the medicines they need, and John Castellani has planted the seed that will get us there,” said Puckrein. 

Gary Puckrein will present the award to John Castellani at the 2015 Leadership Awards Dinner, the culmination of the NMQF Leadership Summit, which was held from April 20-21 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, DC. Organized by NMQF and the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, the dinner will begin at 6PM tonight with host John Brockington, founder of The John Brockington Foundation, and will feature welcome addresses by Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, and Gary A. Puckrein. The keynote address will be delivered by U.S. Representative James “Jim” Clyburn.


About The Forum

The National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan, independent research and education organization. The vision of NMQF is a health services research, delivery and financing system that provides quality and effective health services to the biodiverse American general population of the 21st century. NMQF helps assure that national and local quality improvement initiatives are informed by scientific evidence, and place a priority on the quality of care and patient outcomes in all populations.