Dr. Owen Garrick encourages Black community to participate in clinical trials

The chief medical officer for CVS Health Clinical Trial Services shares tips on how to become better informed

Owen Garrick, MD, is the chief medical officer for CVS Health Clinical Trial Services where he is responsible for medical strategy, overseeing medical compliance and clinical innovation. On April 6, 2023, Garrick attended the CVS Health Cultural Exhibition and Celebration where he participated in an informative discussion.

His main goal for the evening was to share information with the Black community about the benefits of participating in clinical trials.

Dr. Garrick shared details about the event, offered tips to better educate the community about clinical trials, and discussed the importance of Black and Brown people getting involved.

How much preparation went into the event?

First, we’re so thankful for Biogene sponsoring this with us. Part of it just started a couple of months back. We wanted to do something different, not just talk to folks about clinical trials but even have patients participate, which I think are good things. So, we wanted to use culture and performing arts. So, you saw skits, [there] was spoken word, there [was] music, that [was] all centered on clinical trials, health and health care. So, we feel and hopefully, the audience will give us a good sense of what they can learn by just being immersed in this experience.

What three tips would you suggest for people who want to become more knowledgeable about clinical trials? 

The first is just willing to be aware and learn more. As you saw in one of the skits, it’s really figuring out what a trusted source is. So a few things, your own physician could be a trusted source. Well, I’m sure he or she is a trusted source. He or she may not know about clinical trials, I mean, they’ll know generally what clinical trials are but actual trials that you could participate in might be a little bit of a challenge. There are groups like Black Women In Clinical Research that acclimate many of these sponsors, organizers and community folks that we have here today. You can go to CVSClinicalTrialServices.com, to learn more information, [so] those are a few options. Being willing to learn more is number one. Two other things. Anything you might find, share that with family and friends, and begin to have that dialogue. Third, the answer might be no. You might learn enough and might decide this is not for me and that is more than appropriate.

Where else will you be doing these events?

… We’re going to have a follow-up meeting in D.C. So, for your audience that is in D.C., on May 21, 2023, we’re going to be back there doing a similar event. We’re going to be scheduling events in New York in the summer, then most likely in the fall for Chicago — as well as the Los Angeles area. So, if you go to [our website] you [can] connect with us there. We’ll make sure you’re on our mailing list and can keep you informed.

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