Increasing Participant Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement in HEAL Research

The Research Need

Strategies to increase participant diversity, inclusion, and engagement in clinical studies are needed to ensure the NIH HEAL Initiative meets its goal of providing scientific solutions to individuals with pain and addiction. Several years into the initiative, it became apparent that study enrollment plans and stakeholder engagement strategies within some HEAL studies can be refined and improved upon to fully address the needs of individuals living with pain and addiction – as well as their family members, communities, and caregivers. Research supported by HEAL must reflect the full range of populations affected by pain and addiction and offer tools and outcomes meaningful to diverse groups.

About the Program

The NIH HEAL Initiative is providing funding to address challenges related to meaningful engagement of populations experiencing pain and opioid use disorder in HEAL clinical studies. These efforts are developed in the context of individual studies, settings, and patient populations to enhance engagement of patients, communities, and other stakeholders; and to improve recruitment, retention, and inclusion of participants from racial and ethnic minority populations.

Program Details

Through the NIH HEAL Initiative, NIH awarded new supplements to 14 clinical studies ongoing in the initiative, totaling $7.1 million. See funded awards.

Examples of Enhanced Engagement and Inclusion Efforts

  • Developing stakeholder advisory boards, conducting qualitative interviews, and holding patient focus groups.
  • Producing culturally tailored recruitment materials for diverse groups.
  • Connecting with communities affected by pain and addiction through patient navigators.

Research Spotlights

Workshops