A new global poll by Sanofi reveals a legacy of distrust in healthcare systems amongst marginalized groups, such as ethnic minorities, people who are LGBTQ+ and disabled people. In response, Sanofi is launching ‘A Million Conversations’, a €50m initiative to bridge that gap by directly engaging with those communities.

Mind the Gap: The results at a glance

Our survey asked more than 11,500 people in five countries (Brazil, France, Japan, UK, the U.S.) about their experiences with healthcare, with large sample sizes coming from marginalized groups. The majority of people from those groups reported a negative healthcare experience, leading to low levels of trust.

In the UK, 58% of the 2,406 respondents say they have had experiences that damaged their trust in the healthcare system in general.

Those most likely to say this included: those who say their gender is “Other” (82%; n=17), Disabled respondents (76%;n=), Minority ethnic respondents (69%;n=), LGBTQ+ respondents (63%) and women (62%). Likewise, as many as 88% of those who have two or more characteristics report losing trust in the healthcare system in general.

A leap of collective good faith

The polling also gave us a unique insight into what actions are most likely to restore trust: being treated fairly, making healthcare accessible, offering the best quality care among others. Ultimately, trust is won through long-term relationship building, listening and acting on what is being said. 
The healthcare industry has an opportunity to do more to work with, and for, marginalized communities. we must listen to marginalized communities more and use those insights to help the healthcare industry, policymakers and governments to fix the causes of these trust gaps. We must help amplify their voices and concerns rather than speaking over them or on their behalf. 

A million conversations: Playing our part to rebuild trust

A Million Conversations is our response to this challenge. A plan to nurture trust in healthcare by investing €50m to help close the trust gap substantially by 2030.

“As an innovative global healthcare company, we have a role to play in responding to the destabilising situation underrepresented populations are in when they need care. We aim to help build the next generation of diverse healthcare leaders. By also working to build trust through conversation and dialogue between underrepresented communities and healthcare stakeholders, we can help improve engagement and health outcomes for all.” Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO

Building bridges of trust

Over the next eight years we’ll deploy our expertise and resources to support people to become ‘bridges of trust’. Thousands of diverse healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, researchers and patients too who will be empowered to have the conversations we know are essential for lasting change. A Million Conversations will see Sanofi take three decisive actions to achieve this.

  • The next generation of healthcare professionals

We will launch a new global scholarship program for individuals from diverse communities to pursue a career in healthcare or related fields. 

The Sanofi NextGen Scholarship will cover partial university fees, living costs and offer developmental support, mentorship, and internship opportunities. We’ll work in partnership with leading higher education institutions across the world to identify talented people who are keen to make a difference.

We are also partnering with Coursera to provide open access to its Career Academy to people from diverse and lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

  • Listening and acting on what we hear

We will also run hundreds of dialogue events in the heart of local communities, where people can share their stories, experiences and ideas directly with the healthcare industry. 

Whether they’re women, people from ethnic minorities, disabled people or those within the LGBTQ+ community - they deserve their stories to be heard, and acted on.

  • From paying attention, to accelerating action

From these conversations we will produce research, data and policy recommendations that we intend to lead to real action on trust and health inequality. 

We don't have all the answers, which is why we are building a coalition of non-profits, activists, businesses and governments to carry out research, share best practice and coordinate activities to achieve real and lasting change. 

Closing the trust gap

"These survey findings show the scale of the challenges facing underrepresented and marginalised groups in accessing healthcare. At Sanofi, we're committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we believe we have an important role to play in tackling health inequalities across the healthcare system. Through a comprehensive programme of scholarships and dialogue, we hope to support underrepresented communities to have important conversations around equal access to healthcare, amplifying the voices of patients to bring about lasting change." Jessamy Baird, Country Lead and Head of General Medicines, UK & Ireland  

We can’t ignore how belonging to a marginalized group increases the likelihood of a trust-damaging experience any longer​. Especially for people from more than one of those communities. It’s only by working together that we can do more to ensure this trust gap is bridged.

Date of Preparation: January 2023