Unpacks Relationship between Health and Trust

Findings from new study offer valuable insights for physicians and healthcare companies working to improve health of Black communities

NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — A new study from (BDO) highlights the complex factors that build and break trust in healthcare among Black communities. Comprised of more than 45 million people in the U.S., Black communities have historically had a complicated, and often painful, relationship with the healthcare system. The BDO Black Community Trust Study uncovers how Black individuals think about trust and their health and identifies ways pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations can best partner with Black community members to meet their needs. The study findings were unveiled to healthcare leaders at the Community Voices in Health Equity Summit, hosted by BDO in collaboration with USA TODAY, Omnicom Health Group (OHG) and Omnicom Public Relations Group (OPRG), including Ketchum. 

The study, which surveyed more than 500 Black individuals within the BDO community, found that more than 80 percent of respondents say honesty and transparency are defining elements of trust in health (83%). A majority also agree that trust requires healthcare providers to see and treat patients as whole people vs. just their symptoms (77%) and believe them when they describe how they are feeling (68%). In a signal to companies that one-time efforts are not effective in building trust, 58 percent of respondents say their trust is dependent on organizations demonstrating a long-term commitment to their community.

The study also explores what pharma and healthcare companies can do to earn trust and improve the health of Black community members. When asked what steps companies should take to earn their trust, 40 percent said hiring more Black employees would help earn their trust, indicating a growing desire for companies to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. The survey data also highlight a desire for pharma companies to facilitate racial bias and empathy training for healthcare providers and make it easier to access patient navigators.

Clarity and transparency also rose to the top as key elements of establishing trust. More than half (54 percent) see pharma companies playing a role in making health information easier to understand, and 34 percent say using simpler language would go a long way in earning their trust. This desire for jargon-free, plain language is gaining greater prominence among physicians and healthcare organizations according to Ketchum, a global communications consultancy with deep health equity expertise and part of Omnicom PR Group (OPRG). More and more, they say, the conversation is shifting away from patient health literacy to the need for more equitable and inclusive language.

The Community Voices in Health Equity Summit held at the USA TODAY office in New York City brought together more than 70 leaders from top pharma and healthcare organizations to engage in much needed dialogue around health equity and community engagement. Panels during the full-day event covered topics such as medical gaslighting, early detection of cancer among Black men and clinical trial diversity.

Clinical trial diversity was also highlighted in the study. When asked what they need help with to live their healthiest life, many respondents indicated a need for greater access to health information. Half (50%) want more information on new, innovative treatments, and 36 percent are seeking more information on clinical trials.

“Trust remains the number one gap we must overcome to achieve clinical trial diversity and health equity, and we are committed to walking hand-in-hand with pharma to get it right and move quickly,” said CEO Reggie Ware. “Trust is the foundation for health equity strategies, and reaching Blacks in a trustworthy manner, in places they trust, by people they trust must be the lens.”

BDO Chief Marketing Officer Derrick Lane also underscored the organization’s commitment to normalizing Black participation in clinical trials, leading with trust and educating BDO’s 20 million audience reach on Facebook and six million monthly visitors to its website. “We are entering new territory to meet diversity in clinical trials standards,” he said. “Awareness and collaboration are paramount to improve health and set up our legacy in good health.”

In 2024, intends to work closely with pharma companies, community health workers and local influencers to bring awareness to its Clinical Trial Resource Center (CTRC) and engage in important conversations around health equity for measurable impact and improved health outcomes.

Valarie Clark, MPA Senior Vice President of Health Equity at Ketchum, says the Community Voices summit is just the beginning of the health equity partnership with BDO. “Being able to effectively communicate with patients and communities can actually save lives – we saw this happen throughout the pandemic. Clear, simple and concise messages are most effective, but equally important is who is communicating – a valued member of the community can help establish more trust and engagement. Everyone involved in the healthcare system has a responsibility to make the complex simple to ensure patients get the care they need. Achieving better outcomes really requires all of us to communicate differently, and our summit was a great step forward in advancing that communication.”

About BDO Black Community Trust Study
Data was compiled by There is a Black population size of 45 million in the U.S. The SurveyMonkey® was completed online by 500 people within the community, with a confidence level of 90 percent and margin of error of four percent.

About (BDO) (BDO) is the leading and most trusted health platform for Black consumers, reaching a total audience of 20 million people, with six million monthly website visitors. BDO leverages culture, content and technology to improve health outcomes for Black consumers.

BDO is positively impacting Health Disparities and Health Equity, which has become an increasing priority with health stakeholders. BDO’s mission is to get every Black family as healthy as possible and has been able to build an activated, health-focused consumer base, about which it has deep insights. BDO works with leading Black medical and health experts to provide “how to do it, you can do it” content to an audience who needs it most.

Other BDO assets include a Clinical Trials Resource Center, a robust Find a Doctor search tool and more.

About Omnicom PR Group (OPRG)
Omnicom PR Group (OPRG) is the largest global network of communications and consulting agencies in the world. It is home to three of the top global PR agencies FleishmanHillard, Ketchum, Porter Novelli and more than a dozen specialist agencies in corporate and public affairs, political consulting and advertising, language strategy, global health strategy and organizational transformation. OPRG is part of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC).

About Ketchum
Established in 1923, Ketchum’s century of continuous evolution is a testament to our progress. Our storied journey is fueled by our guiding principles of empathy and intelligence. Progress allows us to create a thriving environment where we embrace innovation and deliver excellence with our people and partners, producing work that matters. Driven by data, we develop culture-first work at the intersection of industry and capability. With 136 Cannes Lions, our global communications consultancy is one of the most creatively awarded firms in our industry. We are Ketchum: Progress at Work. For more information on Ketchum, a part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, visit

About Omnicom Health Group (OHG)
At Omnicom Health Group (OHG), differences drive impact. A global network of companies with diverse expertise, we’re united by a common purpose to change lives for good. We reach beyond our teams to forge unexpected connections that spark never-before-seen solutions. The teams we assemble help you tackle what’s now—and next—getting you from science to market, ensuring access, and driving engagement with patients and providers. All while holding ourselves to the highest standard: to be the case study.

Across the hall or across the globe and everywhere in between, we’ve built a global network that thrives on connection and is driven by respect. We celebrate diversity and individuality. OHG takes what makes us different and we weave it into the fabric of what makes us a network. For more information, visit

For interviews or more information: Email us at [email protected]

SOURCE Ketchum Inc

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