National Minority Health Month and California Life Sciences

Monthly Newsletter

National Minority Health Month and California Life Sciences

April 2024

National Minority Health Month and California Life Sciences

April is National Minority Health Month (NMHM), a time to raise awareness about the importance of improving the health of minority communities and reducing health disparities.

There is no dispute that deep-seated healthcare disparities and inequities exist in California and across the nation. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “health disparities are differences and/or gaps in the quality of health and healthcare across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups.” They are the result of centuries of systemic racism in economic, housing, education, criminal justice, and health care systems.

For communities of color these disparities result in a lack of access to treatment and health coverage, chronic health conditions, declining mental health and increased mortality, and a lack of research in treating diseases that primarily effect minority communities. The need for health care diversity in the workplace, educational settings, health organizations, clinical trials, and research is essential in order to ensure access to all life-saving treatments for anyone who needs them.

Alleviating health disparities requires a deliberate, sustained, and multifaceted effort. California Life Science companies are working to lead the way toward systemic solutions to achieve real, measurable results now and well into the future. Research has shown that having clinicians, scientists, and clinical trial participants of color can be one of the primary factors in determining health outcomes and that those solutions must start at the top.

There is still a lot of work to be done. A 2022 report from Business Insider found that nearly 80% of Biotech CEOs are men, and 70% of CEOs are white. The report noted that in 2021, people of color made up 38% of the workforce, but only 24% of executive teams and 28% of CEOs. When it comes to life science, an industry built on innovation, diversity is key to producing these innovative breakthroughs. When there are people with varied backgrounds sitting in the boardroom, making venture capital decisions, working in the labs running teams of scientists, then a variety of ideas, perspectives and priorities contribute to the research and development of treatments that heal some of the world’s most challenging diseases.

Achieving greater diversity in clinical trials also equates to the development of better, safer, and more effective ways to fight diseases that often disproportionately impact diverse communities. Since different drugs have wide-ranging effects on various racial and ethnic groups, it’s important to have representation of diverse populations during clinical trials in order to develop medicines that address the needs of the whole population. To date however, clinical studies fall short of diverse representation:

Life science companies have committed billions of dollars in donations, training, tools, tech, and HR strategies to improve health equity and reduce health disparities in the US. The following are some examples:

For more information and education on health equity visit the:

Stay informed on the latest news and trends on the economic and health benefits of this industry by visiting

If you have any questions about hosting informational briefings for your colleagues serving in the legislature, contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].