Skip to main content
Home » Infectious Diseases » Advancing global health equity through inclusion

Frank Duff

Senior Vice President of Virology Therapeutic Area, Gilead Sciences

From endemics to pandemics, involving community voices directly in the research process can help drive more equitable care.

The world is experiencing a convergence of urgent viral threats, from the longer-standing HIV and hepatitis epidemics to the Covid-19 pandemic and the emerging monkeypox public health emergency. While scientific innovation has advanced the response to these challenges significantly, progress has not benefited all people and communities equally. 

Person-centred care 

Frank Duff, Senior Vice President of Virology Therapeutic Area, Gilead Sciences, notes that person-centred science is one critical way to drive more equitable care.

“At Gilead, person-centred science means ensuring our innovation is tailored to address the needs of those who may benefit from our medicines,” explains Duff. “To achieve this, we must go beyond improving the diversity of those enrolled in our clinical trials. We also need to bring community voices directly into the research process, from program planning to clinical trial execution. 

We recognise the need to act with intention to ensure diversity and inclusion in clinical research.

Addressing the unmet needs 

Several of Gilead’s large-scale HIV global clinical research studies include a robust community engagement component, which aligns key stakeholders, including community partners. A dedicated advisory group comprised of HIV advocates and community leaders are responsible for counselling throughout the research process – from clinical trial design and recruitment strategies to looking at real-world and participant-reported outcomes.

Additionally, to inform its work in COVID-19 and future clinical trial design, Gilead have established a council of people with a diverse range of COVID-19 experiences to better understand their unmet needs and how the company could help address them.

Collaboration and integration 

Engaging the community in the process not only leads to better science, but it also fosters greater trust and engagement throughout the trial and helps scientists better address the lived experiences of those they seek to serve.  

“A common thread across our clinical research programmes is ensuring that patients, providers and others impacted by disease provide input,” concludes Duff. “As we look to the future, we recognise the need to act with intention to ensure diversity and inclusion in clinical research so that when new treatments and innovations are introduced, they can help those who need them most.”

Job Bag number: UK-UNB-2859
Date of Prep: September 2022

Next article