A Review into Ethnic Health Inequalities in Precision Medicine and the Future of Healthcare



At the frontier of medical innovation, technologies promise to make healthcare more personalised, more efficient and safer. Precision medicine can take us beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment; artificial intelligence and machine learning can improve our diagnostic capacities and population-level service planning; and genomics can help with our understanding and treatment of diseases.  

Why this work is important 

There is a risk, however, that these advances could leave behind those communities who already experience ethnic health inequalities. We know that ethnic minority groups are under-represented in medical research, and this was likely among the driving factors for a lack of trust among some communities in taking the COVID-19 vaccine, among other vital medical interventions. If we want biomedical research and genomic medicine to work for everyone, there are two key priorities we must engage with now – ensuring that research is conducted in diverse populations with a range of ancestral backgrounds; and ensuring that the medical advances that result from this research is available for all.    


The aim of this mixed-methods study, which comprises a policy review, evidence synthesis review, qualitative interviews, surveys and routine service data extraction, is to appraise and understand ethnic inequalities in biomedical research and precision medicine.  The specific objectives are to:  

  1. Conduct a policy review to understand the aspects and priorities of current approaches to ethnic health equity in the development and implementation of precision medicine services. Findings will inform the focus of the academic evidence synthesis review. 
  2. Conduct an academic evidence synthesis review to identify ethnic inequalities in precision medicine, focusing on recruitment biases in biomedical research and genomic medicine and patient access to precision medicine. 
  3. Assess the views of stakeholders representing clinicians, policymakers and academics, regarding current knowledge, understanding and practice in promoting diverse access to biomedical research and precision medicine services, including likely barriers/facilitators to access, to identify educational and service needs for better implementation practice. 
  4. Understand the views of individuals representing different ethnic groups on knowledge, understanding, attitudes and engagement with biomedical research and precision medicine services to identify information, educational and service needs to promote more equitable access by these groups. 
  5. Identify current access to genomic medicine services by minority groups. 

Project outputs 

At the end of the research period, the successful organisation should produce a report including:  

  • A report of publishable quality detailing the findings of the research, with an executive summary. 
  • Evidence-based and co-designed recommendations for future research and practice. These recommendations should be validated by a broad range of experts and stakeholders. It is important that all recommendations are targeted at specific organisations and are practically actionable. 


The report is due to be published in early 2024  

Further information 

For further information please contact Dr Veline L’esperance (Senior Clinical Advisor) at info@nhsrho.org