R&D's Lorena Kuri Nominated for People En Español Magazine's Most Influential Women

Director of Clinical Trial Diversity Strategy nominated for her work promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and in clinical studies.
Feb 22, 2021 8:30 AM ET
Blog

Lorena Kuri, director, Clinical Trial Diversity Strategy, is among this year’s nominees for People en Español magazine’s list of most influential women. 

People en Español’s annual “Las 25 mujeres más poderosas” celebrates women who have made a difference empowering others.  For 2021, the magazine called upon various winners of the past decade to be “godmothers” and identify nominees of their choosing. Kuri was selected by Mariela Dabbah, author, founder and CEO of The Red Shoe Movement, an organization dedicated to the career and leadership development of women.

Kuri first connected with Dabbah in a prior role at Novartis where she served as Commercial Hematology lead for Latin America and Canada, with additional duties leading the company’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts in those markets. Kuri implemented the principles and offerings of The Red Shoe Movement as a framework for guiding and structuring that work, and saw participation in the D&I program grow from 25 to more than 150 people. 

For Kuri, the experience further stoked a passion to make a difference helping other women and minorities in their careers – and in their lives. After more than 14 years in Commercial roles, she changed course and found a position at BMS that let her marry her passion for diversity and inclusion with the opportunity to improve health equity and ultimately enhance the development of medicines for all populations. 

“I decided to connect my passion and my purpose and I pivoted my career,” she said.

Clinical Trial Diversity and Bristol Myers Squibb 

Kuri joined Bristol Myers Squibb as director, Clinical Trial Diversity Strategy, in the summer of 2019. Since then the importance of the role, which is based in R&D’s Global Drug Development organization, has only increased.  

The global COVID-19 pandemic exposed persistent health disparities that leave under-resourced and minority communities at greater risk of poor outcomes. This health crisis came on the heels of renewed attention to the serious challenges facing the Black/African American community following the death of George Floyd. 

“Bristol Myers Squibb started working on this very important topic before the pandemic. Today, expanding the opportunity to help medically underserved populations is even more important,” she said. 

The company underscored its commitment to these issues at the end of 2020 when the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and National Medical Fellowships launched a $100 million program to train and develop 250 new clinical investigators who are racially and ethnically diverse or who have a demonstrated commitment to increasing diversity in clinical trials.

Inspiring and Empowering Women 

A native of Mexico City, Kuri today lives in Northern New Jersey with her husband, Jose Lopez, and children Maria, 12, and Elias, 9. 

She said the People en Español nomination is “a big thing here in my house. My husband is very, very happy and so are my kids.” Although modest about her chances of advancing, she hopes her nomination will inspire other Latina immigrants to excel in their personal and professional development, and strive to make a difference. 

“We need to be the change that we want to see,” she said. “I hope it inspires them by showing a way for us to be consistent with our own beliefs and personal values, and merge them and combine that passion and purpose with what we do.”