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Layered Non GCI

Taking a Layered Approach To Drive Diversity in Clinical Trials


Compared to white women, Black women have a shorter lifespan, higher disease burden and are less likely to survive pregnancy and childbirth. Yet, despite having worse health outcomes, they are largely absent from clinical research. The prevailing belief that Black women are opting out of clinical trials due to mistrust of the healthcare system continues to drive their underrepresentation in medical research. 


As an agency committed to improving health outcomes for marginalized communities through communications, GCI Health aimed to inspire new ways of thinking to help close health equity gaps and exceed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s clinical trial diversity mandate.​ We set out to test the prevailing hypothesis that has discouraged the inclusion of Black women in medical research. We engaged Black women directly to uncover their beliefs and barriers to clinical trial participation.  


Informed by our Identity Experience (IX) framework that peels back the layers of identity to inform culturally resonant digital communications, and by the personal experiences of Kianta Key, Group Senior Vice President and Head of Identity Experience, we released “Layered: A Report on Black Women’s Perceptions of Clinical Trials.” Based on a survey of 500 Black women, the report dispels the myths and illuminates the truths around Black women and clinical trial participation. The research uncovers an openness to participation previously unrecognized: Black women are not hard-to-reach; they are left out. Key data points reveal that 80% of Black women surveyed were open to participating in a clinical trial, but only 27% have been asked.


​Layered received extensive media coverage in top-tier industry publications like Fierce Pharma and PM360 and across consumer media outlets like Yahoo Lifestyle, Seattle Medium and Mothering. In addition, the Society of Gynecologic Oncology shared the study with community health workers during a Black Cancer Collaborative training. Most important, GCI Health contributed a significant resource to deepen our industry’s understanding and offer greater clarity to positively impact healthcare outcomes for Black women.

Download the full report here.