Making Health Data More Inclusive

Bella Tukuafu Johnson, a founder in the University of Utah’s Master of Business Creation program, is reshaping the landscape of clinical research through her startup, Kalo Clinical Research. It helps pharmaceutical companies make better medicine by including diverse and underrepresented communities in their studies.

“We hope to stand as a beacon to all clinical research sites in our industry for equity and inclusion of all people as we improve medicine and health for humanity as a whole,” Johnson said.

What sets Kalo Clinical Research apart is its commitment to inclusivity within clinical trials. Johnson’s company overcomes the common barriers that have hindered access in the past by establishing research sites in underrepresented communities, ensuring a diverse representation that larger networks often struggle to achieve.

Born and raised in Punalu’u, Hawaii, amidst a supportive family, Johnson’s journey led her to Brigham Young University and then to the University of Utah, where she worked in health research for over 20 years. Unexpectedly thrust into entrepreneurship, she acquired and transformed a struggling clinical research company into the thriving entity that is Kalo Clinical Research today.

In 2022, Kalo Clinical Research relocated its research clinic from an affluent area in Salt Lake City to the heart of West Valley City, Utah, creating immediate geographical support for those who didn’t know clinical trials were even an option, garnering widespread community support.

Looking ahead, Kalo Clinical Research aspires to be a leading example of equity and inclusion in the clinical research industry.

“In the realm of social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, it is so exciting to represent hope and progress with tangible steps and real evidence that we are making a difference,” Johnson said. She envisions expanding to build additional sites in other historically underrepresented populations, ensuring that access to clinical trials is not a barrier to participation and inclusion.

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About the Author:

Ella JAmes Ella is studying marketing and information systems at the University of Utah. She coaches girls' high school and girls' club volleyball as well. Originally, she is from England and grew up there and lived in Switzerland and Germany. She moved to the U.S. when she was 10 years old. She loves to travel and recently got married and traveled all over Europe for her honeymoon.

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