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In this MD Newsline exclusive interview with psychiatrist Dr. Edward Hallowell, we discuss how to improve diversity and inclusion in ADHD clinical trials and how to improve mental health stigma.

MD Newsline:

Moving forward, how do you think we can increase the recruitment and enrollment of diverse groups in ADHD clinical trials? 

Dr. Edward Hallowell:

“We can increase the enrollment of diverse groups in ADHD clinical trials by being aware of the need and reaching out to diverse communities. For example, my colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital and all of the Harvard-affiliated hospitals and research institutes reach out to diverse groups in their neighborhood and do a good job of it.”


MD Newsline:

How can we improve mental health stigma? 

Dr. Edward Hallowell:

“I’ve spent my life trying to do that, and it comes back to education. Stigma is rooted in ignorance, bias, and the dark part of human nature—the desire to exclude people and condemn people because we fear anything that’s different from ourselves. And that’s really the worst part of human nature.

So we all need to rise above our worst selves. Don’t join the lynch mob. Instead, be the person who speaks out to the lynch mob and says, ‘no, this person deserves justice.’ Make it your business to campaign for truth and equal rights for all. Honor truth. We live in an era where truth is often distorted, denied, and ridiculed. But it is only truth that will set us free. We’re lost without truth. So, honor truth, promote truth, and act on truth.

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And in the case of ADHD, it’s very much the case that the truth will set you free. Undiagnosed ADHD can create a prison for you to live in. Diagnosed, you’re set free of that prison and can rise high and achieve greatness. ADHD is a ticket to greatness if you cash that ticket.”

Responses have been condensed and lightly edited.

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