Cultural Diversity and Clinical Trials: Perspectives from Advocacy Groups


This webinar was recorded on Thursday, May 23, 2019


Clinical trials are designed to accurately capture the effectiveness and safety of a potential new treatment. But when clinical trial participation doesn’t reflect real-world populations, trial results aren’t as meaningful – sometimes for the patient groups that need the treatment most (Ryerson).

This webinar presentation discusses the importance of cultural diversity in the context of clinical research, how to intentionally and respectfully recruit patients from diverse backgrounds, and provides guidance for how patient advocacy groups and clinical research sites can work together to include a diverse array of patients.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the accomplished presenters focused their discussion around mental health research and reaching diverse populations within mental health indications.

Topics covered include:

  • Defining cultural diversity;
  • Exploring how patient advocacy groups and clinical research sites can work with each other;
  • Cultural competency;
  • What impact racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity has on the clinical trial recruitment process;
  • Observations from within communities of color; and
  • How to reach potential patients for mental health studies.
Access 'Cultural Diversity and Clinical Research'



Luke Kramer
Executive Director, The STARR Coalition

Luke has worked for over 20 years assisting individuals on their road to mental health recovery. After 18 years in mental health treatment, Luke created The STARR Coalition (Stakeholders in Treatment, Advocacy, Research and Recovery) with his friend, Carol Witham. The nonprofit organization brings together national thought leaders within clinical research sites, CROs, sponsors, treatment, and advocacy groups with the mission to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and to promote research as an option for recovery.



Carlos A. Larrauri, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mr. Larrauri serves on the Board of Directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and NAMI Miami-Dade County. Diagnosed with schizophrenia at 23 years of age, access to affordable health care, community-based treatments, and early intervention afforded him the best opportunity for recovery.

Mr. Larrauri is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and lectures at the University of Miami and Miami Dade College. He aspires to interface clinical practice, health policy, and research, to reduce health inequities for people living with mental illness. More specifically, his goal is to assist organizations and communities develop systems for the prevention and treatment of mental illness through early intervention in youth.

To learn more about Carlos and his work, visit or visit his LinkedIn.



Lorenzo Lewis
Founder, The Confess Project

Born in jail to an incarcerated mother, Lorenzo struggled with depression, anxiety, and anger throughout his youth. At 17, he almost re-entered the system of mass incarceration he had come from. It was then he began his journey to wellness. It started with an education at Arkansas Baptist College and continued with him facing his own emotional challenges, eventually becoming a mental health advocate. Since then, Lorenzo has spoken at numerous venues across the country—from barbershops to universities—exploring themes such as toxic masculinity, therapy taboos, and more.

Lorenzo began an initiative called The Confess Project in 2016 because he recognized a need to equip marginalized men of color with mental health strategies and coping skills to help them move past their pain. The Confess Project is now a leading voice in the mental health advocacy field. Its team of public health experts, therapists, and education professionals design programs that confront taboos and empower individuals. With a focus on the South and Midwest, the group trains barbers to become mental health advocates. The Confess Project partners with regional organizations to bring into focus how mental health intersects with police brutality, LGBT issues, gender inequality, and more.

ClinEdge Staff

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