Development and evaluation of a novel training program to build study staff skills in equitable and inclusive engagement, recruitment, and retention of clinical research participants.



Adequate equitable recruitment of underrepresented groups in clinical research and trials is a national problem and remains a daunting challenge to translating research discoveries into effective healthcare practices. Engagement, recruitment, and retention (ER&R) training programs for Clinical Research Professionals (CRPs) often focus on policies and regulations. Although some training on the importance of diversity and inclusion in clinical research participation has recently been developed, there remains a need for training that couples critical equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) concepts with skill development in effective recruitment and retention strategies, regulations, and best practices.

Approach and methods

We developed the ER&R Certificate program as a holistic approach to provide Duke University CRPs the opportunity to build competency in gap areas and to increase comfort in championing equitable partnerships with clinical research participants. The thirteen core and elective courses include blended learning elements, such as e-learning and wiki journaling prompts, to facilitate meaningful discussions. Pre- and post-assessments administered to CRP program participants and their managers assessed program impact on CRP skills in ER&R tasks and comfort in equitable, diverse, and inclusive engagement of clinical research participants.

Results and discussion

Results from the first two cohorts indicate that CRPs perceived growth in their own comfort with program learning objectives, especially those centered on participant partnership and EDI principles, and most managers witnessed growth in competence and responsibility for ER&R-related tasks. Results suggest value in offering CRPs robust training programs that integrate EDI and ER&R training.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Cranfill, Jessica R, Stephanie A Freel, Christine E Deeter, Denise C Snyder, Susanna Naggie, Nadine J Barrett and Jamie N Roberts (2022). Development and evaluation of a novel training program to build study staff skills in equitable and inclusive engagement, recruitment, and retention of clinical research participants. Journal of clinical and translational science, 6(1). p. e123. 10.1017/cts.2022.456 Retrieved from

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Denise Snyder

Assoc Dean, Clinical Research

Facilitating clinical research support and collaborations for Duke faculty, staff, students and trainees. Revitalizing the clinical research professional workforce through innovative initiatives to improve support for clinical research that changes clinical care.


Susanna Naggie

Professor of Medicine

Dr. Susanna Naggie completed her undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and biochemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park, and her medical education at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She conducted her internal medicine and infectious diseases fellowship training at Duke University Medical Center, where she also served as Chief Resident. She joined the faculty in the Duke School of Medicine in 2009. She is a Professor of Medicine and currently holds appointments at the Duke University School of Medicine, at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Naggie is a clinical investigator with a focus in clinical trials in infectious diseases and translational research in HIV and liver disease. She is a standing member of the DHHS Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents and the CDC/NIH/IDSA-HIVMA Opportunistic Infections Guideline. She is the Vice Dean for Clinical and Translational Research and Director for the Duke Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

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