“As an African American/black woman, I am directly impacted and have constant proximity to health inequities which ablaze my commitment and work to improve clinical trial inclusion and achieve health equity for racial and ethnic minorities.”
Doctor of Health Sciences student, Naikia Atkinson, hopes to continue serving underserved communities as a leader in the biopharmaceutical industry by working to achieve health equity
Student: Naikia Atkinson
Program: Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc)
Anticipated graduation: 2023
Where are you originally from: Bishopville, SC
Undergraduate Institution/Degree(s) obtained: Bachelor of Science in Biology, Morris College
Briefly describe your accomplishments, strengths, passions and experiences. I recently accepted the opportunity to join Sanofi as the Head of Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical Trials. For decades racial and ethnic minorities and gender minorities have been grossly underrepresented in clinical trials and primarily harmed by health disparities.
As an African American/black woman, I am directly impacted and have constant proximity to health inequities which ablaze my commitment and work to improve clinical trial inclusion and achieve health equity for racial and ethnic minorities. Racial and ethnic minorities experience equal and, in some areas, higher incidence rates than the general population. Unfortunately, for decades health disparities and poor health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities have not improved. There is also a persistent and dramatic underrepresentation in clinical trials. The lack of diversity in clinical trials results in approved therapies that do not accurately reflect the diverse racial and ethnic minority population and provide an inaccurate portrayal of the risks and benefits of treatments. Therefore, I am honored to join Sanofi, where I can continue to solely focus on achieving Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical Trials in an organization committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
Why did you choose DHSc and what benefits do you believe you are gaining/have gained from attending Campbell? I chose Campbell University’s Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) because the interdisciplinary curriculum will further my professional development and hone my skills while I continue to serve and partner with marginalized communities to achieve health equity. Moreover, the DHSc curriculum encourages creative, innovative, problem-solving healthcare solutions across diverse healthcare settings at the community, political, and organizational levels. The faculty focuses on the practical application of modern healthcare delivery, rural health policy, public health ethics, health administration, and interprofessional education, which are beneficial to me as a clinical researcher/healthcare professional focused on improving healthcare systems and health outcomes for underserved Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
What are your future plans in the profession/what legacy do you hope to leave? My plans are to continue serving underserved communities as a leader in the biopharmaceutical industry. I am also looking forward to establishing partnerships with community colleges, as well as middle and high school STEM programs, emphasizing the benefits and possibilities of diverse health care and clinical research professionals. I hope to leave a legacy of scholarship and a great impact on achieving health equity.
Additional comments you would like to share – it can be anything about your hobbies, journey, faith, pets, etc. I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, fishing, volunteering, and lots of beach time.
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