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New program launched in support of women as clinical trial leaders

Women remain underrepresented in cardiovascular clinical trial leadership despite public commitments to increasing gender diversity. In fact, 40% of published trials in high-impact cardiology journals between 2014 and 2018 had no women on their committees at all. Increasing gender diversity in clinical trial leadership is critical to improving data quality and patient care.

With this in mind, Women As One and the Global CVCT Forum, with the support of Esperion Therapeutics, launched the inaugural CLIMB Research Scholars program as part of CVCT 2023 in Washington DC. The program is expected to have an immediate impact by creating valuable opportunities for emerging women researchers, enhancing their visibility, and making the necessary professional connections to ensure their future success.

“There are too few women involved in clinical trial leadership. The data shows that trials led by women have a more representative gender balance among patient participants.”

Faiez Zannad, MD, CVCT Founder and Chair

Following a review of nominations by a committee of established clinical research leaders, three awardees were selected:

Erin Bohula, MD, PhD

(Harvard Medical School, United States)

Caroline Coats, MBBS, MSc, PhD

(Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Scotland)

Sonali Gnanenthiran, MD, PhD

(Concord Hospital, Australia)

As part of their award, the physicians were invited to attend the CVCT Forum, where they were featured as panelists and discussants in sessions related to their expertise and were able to participate in the CVCT Young Trialists program. We were also able to facilitate a number of special on-site networking opportunities, including a lunch with clinical trial experts where they where able to build connections with and learn from expert clinical trialists After the event, Dr David Cohen Director of Clinical and Outcomes Research, at the Cardiovascular Research Foundation commented; “[I was] So glad to meet the 3 CLIMB research scholars in person. I am confident that our field is in great shape for the future!

It was a real privilege to be selected as a CLIMB awardee. Meeting incredible women who have been able to forge their own paths forward was so encouraging and a real testament to the great resilience that is found in women.

Sonali Gnanenthiran, MD, PhD, 2023 Awardee

Following the success of the CLIMB Research Scholars pilot program, Women As One hopes to scale the program in future years to provide support to increasing numbers of emerging women clinical trialists.

“There is still a critical shortage of women involved in clinical research, especially at the leadership level. We are thrilled to provide three talented researchers with this incredible opportunity and are grateful for the support of Esperion Therapeutics and the CVCT Forum as we embark on what we hope will be a growing program.”

Roxana Mehran, MD, Women As One Founder

Nominations for the 2023 CLIMB Research Scholar pilot program were received from the global academic faculty of the CVCT Forum and Women As One.