Morehouse School of Medicine and the Research Centers in Minority Institutions Coordinating Center at Morehouse School of Medicine Partner with Yale School of Medicine and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to increase Diversity in Clinical Trials

Equitable Breakthroughs in Medicine Development initiative is a first-of-its-kind, community-based collaboration supported by grant funding from PhRMA.

ATLANTA – JULY 19, 2022Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Coordinating Center at Morehouse School of Medicine today announced a new partnership with Yale School of Medicine and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to increase diversity in clinical trials and address systemic barriers to participation by communities of color.

The initiative, Equitable Breakthroughs in Medicine Development (EQBMED), will help underrepresented patients be more involved in the research and development of potential life-saving medical treatments. Funded by a grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), over the next 18 months EQBMED will bring together diverse communities, patients, providers, health partners, community organizations, and academic institutions, along with individual clinical trial sponsors, to pilot a network of sustainable, connected, community-based trial sites.

“Morehouse School of Medicine has extensive expertise in connecting people with innovations that allow them to take a more active role in their health and well-being,” said MSM President and CEO Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, FACOG. "Health equity means giving people what they need, when they need it, in the amount that they need in order to reach their optimal level of health. MSM believes in opening doors and forging new pathways for historically underrepresented individuals and communities, and this partnership will allow us to continue building on that tradition of excellence and service.”

“Morehouse School of Medicine and the RCMI Consortium are committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in clinical trials as we lead the creation and advancement of global health equity,” said Elizabeth Ofili, MD, MPH, FACC, Professor of Medicine and Principal Investigator of the RCMI Coordinating Center at Morehouse School of Medicine “While this level of comprehensive collaboration is a first-of-its-kind initiative, it’s important to recognize that MSM and others have been working tirelessly on this issue for decades. We are honored and excited to be partnering with the community systems, providers, and the patients they serve, who are and always have been committed to inclusive clinical trials and medicine development. Their questions, feedback, insight, participation, and leadership will be crucial to creating and maintaining a sustainable proof of concept.”

Equitable Breakthroughs in Medicine Development will bring pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, and healthcare providers together with community groups and leaders to address health disparities with a specific focus on mentorship for staff at clinical trial sites, sustainable support for local community-based sites and partnership with communities of color that have historically been underrepresented.

The goal is to build a sustainable, community-based infrastructure that tears down the systemic barriers underserved patients often face when it comes to clinical trials, including a lack of outreach, a lack of available sites in underserved communities, and patient mistrust. At every stage of this work, the patient community will be the most important partner.

Equitable Breakthroughs in Medicine Development’s community-based trial sites will:

  • Partner with trusted messengers and community leaders to raise education, awareness, and support for clinical trial participation.
  • Provide the resources and technical support for local sites to be successful, sustainable, and thrive.
  • Build training opportunities and mentorship for investigators and staff.

Initial pilot sites will begin opening this summer in the Southeast and Southwest and will serve as an anchor from which further engagement and work in communities will grow, including mentorship and training opportunities for a diverse clinical trial workforce, as well as ongoing engagement and dialogue with the patient community on the benefits of being a part of clinical trials.

First established as a two-year medical program at Morehouse College in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine has been an independent institution since 1981. In addition to its world-renowned Doctor of Medicine program, MSM offers a wide range of health sciences doctorate and master's degrees in public healthbiomedical sciences, and physician assistant studies. Many programs are available online or in a hybrid format for distance learners.

The Research Centers for Minority Institutions (RCMI) Program, sponsored by the National Institutes on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), provides major support for the biomedical research infrastructure of Morehouse School of Medicine, and gives MSM scientific investigators access to state-of-the-art research technology cores, shared use facilities, and other resources. For more than 30 years, RCMI support has fostered the development of areas of research focus at Morehouse School of Medicine including cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, neuroscience, reproductive biology, and molecular immunology. MSM's record of research development and the research enterprise is in large part due to the support received from the RCMI program.

The Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Coordinating Center (CC) at Morehouse School of Medicine supports the RCMI Consortium, which currently has 21 NIH funded RCMI research centers located in 21 Historically Black, Hispanic and Minority Serving Institutions across the nation, that are leading innovations in health disparities research across diverse communities including African American, Latinx and Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander populations. RCMI Consortium has over 2250 active investigators, who collaborate to address health disparities through investigator development, and community engagement.

Additional details about the Equitable Breakthroughs in Medicine Development initiative are available at

For more information about Morehouse School of Medicine, please visit

About Morehouse School of Medicine

Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation’s leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists, and public health professionals. An independent and private historically-Black medical school, MSM was recognized by the Annals of Internal Medicine as the nation’s number one medical school in fulfilling a social mission—the creation and advancement of health equity. MSM faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research, and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care. MSM is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master’s degrees. To learn more about programs and donate today, please visit or call 404-752-1500.

(RCMI CC is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) grant # U24MD015970.

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors, and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health)


Jamille Bradfield
Morehouse School of Medicine