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The MRCT Center 2022 Impact Report

The MRCT Center 2022 Impact Report

Insight. Innovation. Impact.


The year 2022 felt, at once, like forever and no time at all. We’re all learning to move forward in a world that won’t stay still long enough to let us learn. What we are really learning is to be adaptable, flexible, and resilient. 2020 brought us a global pandemic, and 2021 brought us—with unprecedented speed, cooperation, investment, and rigor, based in good science—treatments and vaccines, diagnostics, new technologies, among others. But as we learned to live with COVID-19, COVID-19 learned to live with us. Deaths have decreased, but infections have not, and yet masks are (largely) coming off, traffic is back on the road, and nothing is the same. 2022 is not a ‘new normal,’ but an evolving normal, and we are learning to live with, if not embrace, that evolution.

“Expect the unexpected” has greater resonance now, it seems, than ever. It is not only infections that require attention and reevaluation of our current state and, in our more circumscribed world, of clinical research. The declaration of war in Ukraine demanded, inter alia, attention to the safety and welfare of clinical trial participants. We have learned that investment in infrastructure, collaboration, and cooperation—across all sectors of the clinical research ecosystem—is foundational to any coordinated response to disruption. Grounded in that response is the commitment to all populations across the globe. And in our work this year, and in the pages that follow, you will see some of our contributions to that commitment in the focus on inclusion of diverse populations, often minoritized and marginalized, and in our commitment to training and education, provision of resources, and capacity building, among others. We look forward to your review and comment.

The unexpected death of Dr. Paul Farmer in February 2022 prompted each of us at the MRCT Center, the Division of Global Health Equity of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and beyond—to step back and consider our personal role, efforts, and commitment to this work.

Paul Farmer held many titles, the Kolokotrones university professor, chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and co-founder and chief strategist of Partners In Health. He was also the chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the administrative home of the MRCT Center. And a friend. For those of us who had the privilege of knowing him, he led with heart, warmth, energy, humor, and relentless dedication. In his presence, alone or in crowds of hundreds, he was speaking directly to you, motivating and pushing you to be better, to go farther. Paul believed that everyone deserved access to high quality health care, regardless of income, location, or situation. 

Individually and collectively at the MRCT Center, we believe that everyone deserves access to high quality health care—and that begins with access to high quality clinical research and ends with access to those products, interventions, diagnostics, and health care services found to be beneficial through that clinical research. We thank our Executive and Steering Committee members, Senior Advisors, External Advisory Board, collaborators, patients, participants, care givers, and care providers for joining us on that journey, in sustaining that vision, participating in the effort, and bringing purpose to the work we do.

Barbara, Mark, and Sarah on behalf of the team

Sarah White, MPH

Executive Director

Barbara Bierer, MD

Faculty Director

Mark Barnes, JD, LLM

Faculty Co-Director

MRCT Center Project Highlights

The MRCT Center’s multidisciplinary teams collaborate to identify challenges and deliver ethical, actionable, and practical solutions for the global clinical trial enterprise, with a focus on multinational clinical research.

Advancing The Quality of Clinical Trial Enterprise

Improving the quality and reporting of clinical trials

Aligning Stakeholders to Facilitate Pediatric Access to Medicines

Improving communications and data to improve access

Capacity Building For Clinical Research and Ethics

Continuous learning for a changing regulatory and ethics landscape

Community Resources

Empowering patients, participants, and the public to make informed choices

Data Sharing and Privacy

The impact of data sharing and privacy regulations on research


Equity by design


Clear and understandable research for everyone


Continued access to investigational drugs and devices after trial completion.

Promoting Global Clinical Research in Children

Working to ensure children are protected in and through clinical research

Return of Results to Study Participants

Working towards returning individual and study research results to participants

The Ethics of Decentralized Clinical Trials

Harmonizing ethical review of decentralized clinical trials


Examining complex ethical issues in multi-national clinical trials


Addressing legal and regulatory issues in international clinical research

Looking Ahead to 2023

Insight, Innovations, Impact

Publications & Presentations

MRCT Center Leadership, Senior Advisors, and team members regularly contribute commentaries and articles to academic journals. The MRCT Center has also hosted several webinars throughout the year. Selected publications and presentations over this past year are available here.

We invite you to view all MRCT Center resources.

Get Involved

The MRCT Center engages a diverse group of stakeholders to define our work and develop and implement our solutions. We welcome members of industry, academia, government, non-profit organizations, patient advocacy and patients to collaborate with some or all of our projects.  Want to join the effort?  Contact us! 

Thank you to our External Advisory Board, Executive Committee, and Steering Committee for their continued support.  Your contributions ensure that we, collectively and collaboratively, commit to the ethical conduct of clinical trials across the globe. Find out how to become a sponsor.