Clinical trial diversity has been a major topic of discussion for years, but it took the COVID-19 pandemic for the biopharma industry to fully realize how far behind it had fallen when it came to recruiting diverse populations into studies.

Since then, drug and vaccine makers have made a point of emphasizing their efforts to improve diversity in their studies.

But what will happen after the pandemic is over, and what form might efforts to increase diversity take beyond the US, where much of the attention on the issue has focused?


Kristen K. Buck MD

Chief Medical Officer, ICON plc

Kristen K. Buck MD is a board certified and licensed Internal Medicine physician serving as Chief Medical Officer of ICON Clinical Research.  In this role, Kristen is ICON’s leading medical expert, representing the company’s position on key scientific, ethical and medical governance matters. Kristen provides oversight to the Drug Development Services group and supports alliance partnerships, key customers, and proposals.

Kristen started her career practicing Internal Medicine.  She later served as a Medical Officer at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the GI and Haematology Division completing a number of NDA and IND reviews.  She was responsible for reviewing efficacy and safety for all new indications as well as post-marketing safety for over 40 drugs.

From there Kristen spent time at AstraZeneca initially as the Global Safety Physician and then as a Global Study Physician.  Kristen worked on several different assets developing target product profiles, target commercial profiles, designing studies, and performing risk assessments. Kristen later moved to AZ’s Innovative Medicines group where she advanced and re-purposed late-stage products as well as evaluated external opportunities across multiple therapeutic areas.

Kristen also spent time at Quintiles/IQVIA as VP, Global Strategic Drug Development working to create clinical development strategies, protocols, and portfolio prioritizations and as Chief Medical Officer at B. Braun Medical Inc., a global medical device company.

Prior to joining ICON, Kristen was SVP & Chief of Clinical Development at Optum Insights, where she led the Clinical Operations and Regulatory groups working to build a digital research network and optimise Optum’s access to electronic patient medical records.


Almenia Garvey

Senior Director, Site Networks, Accellacare

Almenia is Senior Director for Site Networks at Accellacare, ICON’s global clinical research network offering patients easier and faster access to innovative treatments and offering customers the option to deploy decentralised trials. Almenia has over 25 years’ experience in clinical research and during this time she has had the opportunity to work on a number of projects combining healthcare and technology.  She specialises in site selection strategy, investigator identification and investigator relationship management. Almenia has a passionate interest in driving diversity in all aspects of clinical trials.  She has supported a number initiative’s to increase diversity in PIs, research sites, study staff and patient recruitment.  She is on the board of Directors for Nvolve, a non-profit that focuses on preparing young women for STEM careers.  Almenia holds a Bachelor’s of Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s of Science from Ulster University, in Jordanstown, Northern Ireland.