Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart has recently announced the launch of the Walmart Healthcare Institute (WHRI) in an effort to improve community access to healthcare research which may contribute to the development of safer and more equitable healthcare.
According to the statement released on October 11, 2022, the will aim to develop interventions and medications that benefit underrepresented groups such as senior citizens, rural residents, women, and people of color. The first focus of WHRI will be to include members of these groups in research for chronic conditions and innovative treatments. For Walmart, clinical trials have historically recruited individuals who reside close to research facilities, can afford to participate, and have the time. As a result, research is often providing accurate information on the population at large. According to a study published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, approximately 75% of trial participants were white in 2020, 11% were Hispanic, 8% were Black, and 6% were Asian. Walmart has stated that it will concentrate on research projects to include all groups and in turn, promote health equity. To achieve this, Walmart is working in collaboration with an extensive team of study partners including clinical research organizations, pharmaceutical companies and leading academic medical centers, including CTI Clinical Trial & Consulting Services and Laina Enterprises.
In addition to the launch of WHRI, Walmart has announced the MyHealthJourney. The digital tool will provide health research patients with more control of their own data through better access to their relevant medical records and provide patients with reminders for care services and research opportunities.
“Walmart’s research initiative aligns with North Carolina A&T’s strategic plans to further expand its local, regional and national community engagement activities in order to reduce social, economic and health disparities within African American populations,” said Dr. Raymond Samuel, Professor, North Carolina A&T State University; Center of Outreach in Alzheimer’s Aging and Community Health. “Walmart’s interest in ensuring that DEIA is at the core of its effort to increase customer access to clinical trials is in synergy with the historical commitment of NC A&T to enhancing the well-being of its communities.”