Case Studies

Diverse Patient Recruitment Begins with Authentic Connection: Reaching Underserved Lupus Patients


As proven pioneers in modifying the body’s immune response, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) is pursuing an innovative approach to lupus research. They developed a broad portfolio of lupus clinical trials to study several potential treatments. 


To ensure their research, development, and treatments meet the needs of the patients affected by lupus, BMS wanted to prioritize patient recruitment strategies that engage a diverse population.


Lupus is three times more common in African American women than in Caucasian women, yet African Americans make up only 8% of clinical trial participants. There exists a historic mistrust among the African American community towards clinical trials. Understanding this complex landscape, BMS recognized that traditional patient recruitment tactics would be less effective in reaching minority communities. They recognized that to reach this underrepresented population, they would have to take a grassroots approach to educate and build trust.


In partnership with the I Choose Life Foundation (ICLF), Jumo Health organized community events in three cities – Memphis, Dallas, and LA – strategically selected based on influential community ties and proximity to participating site locations.  These events were attended by community & faith-based leaders, health advocates, and local business owners. Attendees were equipped with easy-to-understand and culturally relevant materials to educate their connections about lupus and helped guide those considering the BMS clinical trials through the pre-screening process. 


To build trust and credibility, these events:


Were held in intimate locations like churches and beauty salons, that were familiar to women in the community.


Featured respected speakers, including Congresswoman Maxine Waters and local physicians who shared about the need for diversity in clinical trials. 


Highlighted personal stories from lupus patients and their families.


64 engaged community leaders attended 3 events
30+ clinical trial referrals generated in the first 2 months
2 patients enrolled in the first 2 months


By partnering with the ICLF, Jumo Health was able to gain access to and build trust with influential community leaders and advocates within the African American communities located near study sites. The BMS Lupus initiative saw increased web engagement and positive feedback, indicating impactful community activation events and sustained outreach by community leaders to generate greater trial awareness and drive participation.


As of April 2024:


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Interested in hearing more? Register for the Health Equity Congress to attend our 30-minute session. During the session, you’ll gain insights from a five-person panel as they share their perspective on the importance of sharing diverse patient stories and activating local community leaders to help rebuild trust ahead of a clinical trial. The panelists include Tony Wafford, President and CEO of the ICLF; LaToya Bolds-Johnson, a patient advocate and breast cancer survivor; Erika Heiges, Associate Director, Engagement Strategy Lead at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS); and Gwenn Oakes, Director, Global Trial Optimization at Merck & Co.

Register for the Health Equity in Clinical Trials Congress at today. 

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