BioNJ Hosts Its Inaugural Health Equity in Clinical Trials MBA Business Plan Case Competition

BioNJ Hosts Its Inaugural Health Equity in Clinical Trials MBA Business Plan Case Competition

(Click here for a photo gallery from the competition)
Updated December 7, 2022

Trenton, NJ, Dec. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — BioNJ, New Jersey’s life sciences trade association, hosted an Inaugural Health Equity in Clinical Trials MBA Business Plan Case Competition on Saturday, December 3, at Rutgers Business School. BioNJ’s Business Plan Case Competition, which is part of a broader strategic initiative of BioNJ Health Equity in Clinical Trialswas designed to promote the next generation of diverse clinical trial innovators and identify innovative approaches and successful models that can be used nationally to strengthen diversity in clinical trials and expand health equity.

BioNJ's Health Equity in Clinical Trials

BioNJ believes that health equity in clinical trials is critical to deepening the understanding of the safety and efficacy of medicines in under-represented populations, expanding access to medical innovation for these populations and increasing dialogue and trust among the biopharma industry, communities and healthcare systems. By discovering new approaches, utilizing new technologies and developing new business standards to make trials more accessible, we can work to create more agile, efficient and Patient-centered medical research.

Eight teams, competing for more than $20,000 in prize money, were tasked with developing a business plan defining a new solution, application or technology to help address this important and challenging problem. Teams identified one particular type of health disparity on which to frame their proposed solutions and connect with community-based organizations to better understand the real-world barriers that exist for their chosen populations to engage in clinical trials. The disease areas on which the respective teams focused included Alzheimer’s, heart failure, multiple sclerosis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, colorectal and cervical cancers, and oncology.

Each team was composed of 4-5 diverse, cross-disciplinary students from MBA and other allied graduate programs. (Click here to review the resumes of our teams.)

  • Baylor College of Medicine, Northwestern University & Rice University
  • Columbia University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Rutgers University
  • Temple University
  • Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • University of Pittsburgh

“There is an urgent need to bring more diversity to clinical trials in order to better serve Patients and their communities…thereby helping to address health inequities,” said Amadou Diarra, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Global Policy, Advocacy & Government Affairs for Bristol Myers Squibb; BioNJ Board Member and Chair of the BioNJ Health Equity in Clinical Trials Initiative. “Only by improving diversity in clinical trials will we be able to deepen our understanding of the safety and efficacy of medicines for all populations. I am extremely proud of our teams. Each of the business plans offered a unique out-of-the-box solution – helping advance our ambition to have no Patient left behind.”

Live pitch presentations were made throughout the day to a The Panel of Judges is composed of industry experts:

  • Naikia AtkinsonDirector, US Clinical Trials Diversity and Inclusion, Sanofi
  • Schylr GreggsDirector, Technology Operations, Medidata
  • Sharon HanlonHead, Clinical Trial Engagement & Enrollment, Bristol Myers Squibb
  • Maribel HernandezVice President, Clinical Operations & Special Projects, PTC Therapeutics
  • Jack RosenbergManager, Investments and Business Development, TrialSpark
  • Del SmithCo-Founder & CEO, Acclinate
  • Lolita SmithProgram Manager, Rare Disease Diversity Coalition, Black Women’s Health Imperative
  • Matt WalzCEO, TrialBee

“Although ultimately three winning teams were presented with cash prizes, each team has made a difference for Patients by offering new solutions and technologies to better serve Patients, build community trust and address gaps in health care delivery,” said Paul Howard, Ph.D., BioNJ Business Case Competition Steering Committee Chair and Senior Director, Public Policy for Amicus Therapeutics. “This is just the start as we work to share these proposals more broadly.”

A white paper with all of the presentations will be published in April and rolled out during BioNJ’s acclaimed BioPartnering Conference – which brings together more than 500 industry professionals from around the globe. The three winning teams will present their plans during the April 18 BioPartnering Conference and all of the students are invited to attend to meet the community.

Winning teams include:

  • First Place: Johns Hopkins University ($10,000) who focused their plan on increasing representation in clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease through community engagement strategies and the use of digital tools.
  • Second Place: Rutgers University ($7,000) who focused their plan on using population health and real-world data analytics to calculate health equity targets specific to clinical trial sites in prostate cancer.
  • Third Place: Baylor College of Medicine, Northwestern University & Rice University ($3,500) who focused their plan on increasing Hispanic/Latinx involvement in clinical trials by training community healthcare workers from refugee and immigrant populations.

“BioNJ’s mission is to help our Members help Patients. It is with the vision of Health Equity for all that BioNJ launched our Health Equity in Clinical Trials Strategic Initiative, of which the MBA Business Plan Competition is one of three important workstreams,” said BioNJ President and CEO, Debbie Hart. “In addition to thanking our extraordinary teams for their commitment and time, I’d like to thank our Steering Committee; industry supporters, including Bristol Myers Squibb, Medidata, Amicus Therapeutics, PTC Therapeutics, Sanofi, Insmed, PsychoGenics, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Crowley Law and the Rare Disease Diversity Coalition; our expert judges and our colleagues from the Kith Collective. It was only with their guidance and support that we have been able to bring this important initiative forward.”

For more information, please visit

About BioNJ

BioNJ is the life sciences trade association for New Jersey, representing close to 400 research-based life sciences organizations and stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem from the largest biopharmaceutical companies to early stage start-ups for nearly 30 years. Because Patients Can’t Wait®BioNJ is dedicated to ensuring a vibrant ecosystem where Science is Supported, Companies are Created, Drugs are Developed and Patients Have Access to Lifesaving Medicines.

Recognized as a respected thought leader, an influential advocate and a sought-after convener of the life sciences industry, BioNJ works directly with legislative leaders in both Trenton and Washington DC to advance the life sciences industry, foster medical innovation and ensure health equity and healthcare affordability. With innovation as the driving force behind medical breakthroughs, BioNJ’s mission is to help our Members help Patients by providing transformative resources, including access to government and industry leaders, capital and State incentives, timely educational programs, skilled talent and a value-driven purchasing program .

BioNJ is inspired by and privileged to work with those committed to improving the lives of patients and their families around the world. For more information visit

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Randi Bromberg
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