For those physicians not working in hospitals where clinical research is the norm, knowing how to get involved was also cited as a key challenge. To overcome this, long-term mentorship, adequate financial compensation, and guidance and training provided early in a career path by those with experience was cited as an important way to address this barrier. In turn, this could successfully increase the rates of clinical research involvement for physicians from all backgrounds:
It’s much more than training and education. There must be an offer of employment and sponsorship...
Dr. Shelly McDonald Pinkett, Physician Focus Group Participant
Also important is hospital infrastructure, as support and funding that includes assistance from the pharmaceutical industry could greatly help with the undertaking of clinical research on an ongoing basis and lead to success:
It is well known that involvement in clinical research is low across the entire healthcare profession. A lack of training on the topic during medical school and lack of exposure within hospitals are likely the primary reasons for this. Physician participants agreed that these barriers exist but that being paid less to lead research than to see patients was also a deterrent. This underscores the need to educate about the importance of clinical trials and medical research while removing barriers related to earnings, such as accessible grants.
Training existing sites on new approaches for accessing a diversity of communities as well as enhancing the diversity of sites by selecting and partnering with new sites and physicians from different racial and ethnic backgrounds would be worthwhile. Approaching new sites outside of the large inner-city teaching hospitals will also be important in order to reach physicians who are working in community hospitals. In particular, sites that have already built trust with communities by working with them and getting to know them better would greatly improve diversity in clinical research.
I love the idea of healthcare workers being involved in the community, who are able to speak to specific trials and explain to patients in their own language what it really means to participate and the potential benefit it offers to the community.
Dr. Shelly McDonald-Pinkett, Physician Focus Group Participant