Screenshot from module 1 of the massive open online course “Working together faster, improving minority recruitment in clinical trials”
Few institutions offer training on strategies for increasing diversity among clinical trial participants.
Many research teams struggle to recruit racial and ethnic minorities into clinical trials despite realizing the need for diversity. Unfortunately, few institutions offer training for research teams on strategies for increasing diversity among clinical trial participants. To meet this need, we developed a massive open online course called Faster Together. The aim of the course is to help individuals involved in the clinical research business (including investigators, recruiters, and clinical research coordinators) acquire the knowledge and skills required to work in racial and ethnic minorities to successfully recruit and retain clinical trials.
In our manuscript we describe the design, implementation and initial assessment results based on the ten month period since the course was published. In short, the course was developed through a collaborative process that involved a team of content experts, knowledge management information scientists, and videographers. Community feedback was taken into account throughout the course development process through consultation of the Recruitment Innovation Center’s Community Advisory Board.
The course consists of eight modules, each of which can be completed within one hour. The individual modules are divided into short sections (~ 10 minutes) to make it easier for learners to complete the training if they have time. The modules focus on topics such as understanding the need for diversity in clinical research, barriers and facilities to participation, strategies for community engagement, pre-screening, consent, and retention. The course content is freely available and learners can work at their own pace.
Overall, the feedback from the course participants was positive and participants indicated that the course increased their knowledge of the subject. It remains to be seen whether participation in the course will translate into changes in the enrollment of minorities in clinical trials. However, the majority of learners in our study indicated that they intended to change their recruiting practices as a result of attending the course.
Training alone does not lead to changes unless it is complemented by measures.
We hope that initiatives like our course will ultimately lead to a fairer representation of minorities in clinical trials. To understand whether the results of a particular study are relevant to different populations, it is necessary to achieve diversity in participating in the research. We are aware that training alone does not lead to changes unless it is complemented by measures. Changes may be required on an individual, team, and institutional level. Responding to the demand for more diversity in clinical trial participation is one of many important steps we can take to reduce health inequalities and promote health equity.