Michelle Johnson, MD, FACC, MPH


Vice Chair for Health Equity, Department of Medicine; Clinical Director of Cardiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; New York, NY

Dr. Johnson is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiology and nuclear cardiology. She has a busy faculty practice along with her responsibilities as a nuclear cardiologist. In addition to her clinical activities, she is actively involved in house-staff training and community service. She has served on the board of various organizations such as Queens Medical Society, and the Minority Health Institute. Presently, she is the co-chair of the American Heart Association, Long Island chapter. She lectures frequently and is engaged in outreach programs on issues relating to cardiovascular disease in women and minorities. Her activities have prompted her to be listed in the Castle Connolly’s New York’s Top Doctors, and she has served as a medical expert for Black Entertainment Television and PBS.

Dr. Johnson received her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1992. She completed a residency in internal medicine in 1995, and a cardiology fellowship at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City in 1998. She completed the CFHU Fellowship, and received her M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1998.


Minority Inclusion In Clinical Trials : A Mission Accomplished? Case Study - The National Institutes of Health


In 1994 the General Accounting Office responded to Congressional concerns about the need to address the paucity of knowledge available on women and minorities. The deficit was a consequence of the systematic exclusion of  these groups from clinical trials. In an effort to redress this information deficit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was mandated to reinforce and strengthen its pre-existing Revitalization Act concerning women and minorities as subjects in NIH funded research. This resulted in the creation of its present inclusion policy.

The NIH guidelines now state that minorities and women must be included in all NIH supported research, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification establishes that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects. The Institute has also been charged with initiating programs and support for outreach efforts to recruit these groups into clinical studies.

President Clinton has identified the elimination of racial disparities in health outcomes as a goal for the health care community. Efforts to achieve this objective will require that we gain more information about minorities through clinical trials. The recruitment and retention of minorities in clinical trials remains a challenge to the scientific community.

This study explores the extent to which the NIH has been able to achieve its stated objectives and investigates the hurdles inherent in such an endeavor. Information was ascertained from various sources at the NIH, through surveys of researchers in the field of clinical trials as well as through extensive literature review. The project elucidates what is known to date in the field of minority recruitment and retention in clinical trials, and also examines some of the future challenges facing this field. Finally it highlights work that remains to be done, with particular regard to policy initiatives, to foster further successful involvement of minorities in clinical trials.

Faculty Preceptors:

Vivian Pinn, MD, Director, Office of Research on Women’s Health, National Institutes of Health