Greater Gift Establishes a Scholarship to Increase Diversity in Clinical Research Leadership

Winston Salem, North Carolina – Greater Gift announces a $50,000 scholarship to support a minority graduate student enrolled in Wake Forest University’s newly launched Master’s in Clinical Research Management Program. The scholarship is named in honor of Mary Hofmann Murphy, a Winston-Salem native and clinical research participant. The inaugural scholarship was awarded to Darius Ford of Raleigh, a student enrolled in the first cohort of students in the program.

Greater Gift is a non-profit, founded in 2010, with a mission to increase awareness of clinical research, especially among underrepresented communities. Greater Gift’s goal is to further the engagement of underrepresented groups in clinical research by investing in future leaders in the industry. Executive Director Lilly Skok Bunch stated, “We will only have real equity in clinical research participation when the research industry is reflective of our community. This scholarship is a step in that direction.”

The scholarship was named for Mary Hofmann Murphy, a participant in a cancer research trial conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Health with investigators from Wake Forest School of Medicine and Indiana University. “Mary Hofmann Murphy’s journey at Wake Forest Baptist Health is a story of commitment and a desire to help others, including those she may never know, who will benefit from her role in clinical research,” said Jennifer Byrne, Founder and Chair of the Board of Greater Gift. “Mary’s commitment to overcoming hardship and her wish to impact social justice in our world live in the spirit of this scholarship.”

The Master’s in Clinical Research Management program was created to increase the number of professionals entering into the clinical research industry. The expertise for the program resides within Wake Forest School of Medicine and is supported by an advisory board of research, health care and industry leaders. Ford, the first scholarship recipient, enrolled in the program because of a personal passion for clinical research and a desire to bring next-level interventions to patients.

COVID-19 brought increased attention to disparity in clinical research. According to an August 27, 2020 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, while the research industry “strive[s] to overcome the social and structural causes of health care disparities, we must recognize the underrepresentation of minority groups in COVID-19 clinical trials.” Upon learning of the scholarship being created in her honor, Ms. Murphy remarked, “The establishment of this scholarship is an answer to my prayer to be able to make a difference in the world.“

About Greater Gift ( Greater Gift is a non-profit organization, founded in 2010, with a mission to increase awareness of clinical research, especially among underrepresented communities, to improve global health. Greater Gift builds bridges with underrepresented communities to engage them in research, ensure equal representation in clinical research and to increase access to research as an option for medical care. Since its founding, Greater Gift has honored 130,000 clinical trial volunteers by making donations of vaccines
and meals to children in need in their honor.

About Wake Forest and the Masters in Clinical Research Management Program: Wake Forest School of Medicine ( is the medical education, research and innovation enterprise of Wake Forest Baptist Health, an academic health system located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The School of Medicine is a nationally recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking translational research in aging and cognition, cancer, heart and vascular, metabolism and diabetes, brain and stroke.

The Wake Forest University Master of Science in Clinical Research Management (CRM) program provides a holistic approach for students in clinical research. Designed for those working in or entering the clinical research field, this degree program expands participants’ knowledge of both the macro and micro aspects of the clinical research ecosystem and is focused on an overarching vision to shape and impact the future of healthcare.

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