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Health Equity

Question Reality and Advance Health Equity

Structural racism, deeply-rooted health inequities and other forms of systemic injustice affect our ability to advance science and improve outcomes for all patients. Addressing these issues requires us to elevate the experiences of marginalized patients, Ask Bigger Questions and embed equity into everything we do. We believe that with patients at the center, and with the collaboration of the entire healthcare ecosystem, we can make health equity a reality.

We can no longer accept this status quo. To break this cycle of inequity and create a world where all patients can access investigational medicines, we must come together as industry leaders to take bold and decisive action.

Quita Highsmith, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

Behind the Video:
Asking Bigger Questions to Make Health Equity a Reality

Inequities in healthcare and clinical research are multi-faceted and extend through every aspect of the ecosystem, including the scientific workforce1. Question Reality, a video created to shine a light on the health inequity crisis, was inspired by the perspectives of countless underrepresented patients and STEM professionals who are both experiencing and addressing barriers to access, opportunity, and optimal health. Meet Genentech employees and interns who inspired the story by asking bigger questions of themselves, our industry and society.

Health Inequity is a Crisis

Clinical Trials are 85% white.2

More than five years ago, we began addressing this underrepresentation through Advancing Inclusive Research® - a cross-functional effort to reduce inequities in clinical research participation. Since then, we have launched the Advancing Inclusive Research Site Alliance, founded and partnered with our External Council for Inclusive Research, conducted several clinical trials prioritizing the recruitment of historically underrepresented patients, and invested more than $26M in giving towards advancing inclusive research and building trust in communities of color.

Black women are 41% more likely to die of breast cancer.3

We have a responsibility to invest our time and financial resources into addressing the root causes of health inequities. Since 2017, we have invested nearly $125M in health equity-focused giving through national partnerships and patient-centered grants.

With support from the Health Equity & Diversity in STEM Innovation Fund, TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance, Breastcancer.org, and others launched the groundbreaking #BlackDataMatters study to better understand the barriers that prevent Black women from participating in trials.

Patients of Color are less likely
to receive quality care than white patients.4

What We’re Doing About It

We’re Listening: In 2020 and 2021, we conducted health equity studies to elevate the perspectives and experiences of historically marginalized patient populations.

We’re Investing: We have created the industry-leading Health Equity & Diversity in STEM Innovation Fund and have invested $21M+ since 2019 to support new approaches for bringing high-quality care and inclusive research to patients of color, and break down barriers to STEM education and career pathways.

We’re Convening: We have sponsored and co-created Health Equity Symposia, in partnership with healthcare institutions and community-based organizations across 10 states, on topics ranging from increasing clinical trial representation to mental health in the LGBTQ+ community.

Health Equity in Action

  • $165M invested in health equity and diversity in STEM focused giving and national partnerships since 2017
  • 27 Health Equity Symposia across 11 states
  • 4,400+ patients surveyed to amplify and address the experiences of marginalized and medically disenfranchised communities

“We must acknowledge and face head on the root causes of health inequities, and the first step is being willing to put a name to the most fundamental of these causes: racism.”

Rajni Dronamraju, Senior Director and Head of Giving & Social Impact


1 Pew Research Center, “STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity.” April 2021.

2 Alegria M, Sud S, Steinberg BE, Gai N, Siddiqui A. Reporting of Participant Race, Sex, and Socioeconomic Status in Randomized Clinical Trials in General Medical Journals, 2015 vs 2019. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(5):e2111516.

3 American Cancer Society, “More Black Women Die from Breast Cancer Than Any Other Cancer.” February 14, 2022.

4 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2019 National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Report. December 2020.