AbbVie’s Kim Ribeiro on Improving Diverse Representation in Clinical Trials

Kim Ribeiro is the Head of Diversity and Patient Inclusion at AbbVie. AbbVie ranked No. 23 on The Fair360, formerly DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.


Kim Ribeiro, AbbVie’s Head of Diversity and Patient Inclusion, shared the progress the company is making and what else needs to be done to ensure every patient’s needs are represented in clinical trials.

While clinical trial participation should accurately reflect the affected patient population, representation often falls short. Diversity is needed to show how efficient drugs are based on age, race, ethnicity and sex. But truly diverse participation is hardly available.

The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic communities and shed light on health inequities in the healthcare system, which ” is galvanizing people to make a more concerted effort to address them,” Ribeiro said in an article on AbbVie’s website.

“For those of us within the pharmaceutical industry, this is an opportunity to revisit why this is still a problem and what we can do differently.”

Clinical trials require patients to come to the scientists, meaning they may have to take time off work, travel and spend long hours at the site. This is especially difficult for people who work remotely, as well as those who can’t afford to dedicate much time and money to a trial.

To help overcome these barriers and increase representation in trials, AbbVie offered assistance in its study of uterine fibroids in African American women. Trial conductors offered assistance with transportation, flexible hours and mobile reminders.

AbbVie also works to broaden eligibility criteria to increase the diversity of participants.

“If a doctor is considering giving a patient a drug that wasn’t tested in that patient population, you have less assurance that the data is applicable to your patient,” said Riberio. “But when we can say yes, this drug was tested on people that look like that patient you can have a bit more confidence.”


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