Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Developing a Clinical Research Associate Training Program at Dillard University: The Impact of Collaboration

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Developing a Clinical Research Associate Training Program at Dillard University: The Impact of Collaboration

Article excerpt

Abstract; In 2010 Dillard University and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans collaborated to secure a five year-grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health to establish a Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHHDRC) located on the campus of Dillard University. The MHHDRC is the first Federally funded Center of Excellence in the state of Louisiana. Three cores of the Center operate to achieve its mission. One core includes a clinical research associate (CRA) training program. The major goal of the program is to increase the number of minority CRAs in the state of Louisiana, especially in New Orleans and, ultimately promote greater participation and retention of minorities in clinical trials research. This article discusses the initiation of the CRA training program, its planning, community outreach, implementation, integration of multiple resources and role of collaboration in the development of the MHHDRC including accomplishments, challenges and future plans.

Key Words; Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Research Training Program, Collaborative Partnerships, Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Clinical Trials.

Clinical research in the United States (US) is one of the fastest growing industries in the 21s' century. It incorporates scientific and technological advances that impact clinical trials for medications and devices. The growth in this area has increased the need for a number of health care related jobs, especially the need for clinical research associates. The primary role of the Clinical Research Associate (CRA) is to monitor clinical trials. To accomplish this role, the CRA works directly with the organization sponsoring the clinical trial or with a Contract Research Organization. A CRA ensures compliance with the clinical trial protocol, conducts visits at clinical sites, reviews Case Report Forms (CRFs), and communicates with the clinical research coordinator and principal investigators. The CRA usually has an academic degree and is knowledgeable of State and Federal laws that govern the ethical principles regarding clinical trials. The lack of well-trained clinical research associates decrease minorities' participation in clinical and basic research, denying them access to advanced healthcare and perpetuate health disparities (Rodriquez, vonGlahn, Grembowski, Rogers, & Safran, 2008; Saha & Shipman, 2006; Beach et al., 2004).

There is mounting evidence for the need of a culturally diverse nursing workforce in the United States. Published reports conclude that a shortage of culturally competent investigators and research nurses prevent minority communities from participating fully in state-of-the-art clinical trials and other forms of biomedical research (Rodriquez et al., 2008; Saha & Shipman, 2006; Beach et al., 2004). During this decade, the number of non-white Americans is expected to rise by 50%. Presently, there are 35.5 million Hispanics in the United States and many more that are undocumented; it is estimated that by the year 2050,25% of the U.S. population will be Hispanic. In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that Asians were the nation's fastest-growing race or ethnic group. Their population rose by 530,000, or 2.9 percent, in the preceding year, to 18.9 million (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012, 2010). To better serve the diverse U.S. population, research nurses should mirror that population; however, only 10.7% of the nursing workforce represents these ethnic groups. Furthermore, the latest evidence shows that the patient and physician's race, ethnicity, and language influences processes of health outcomes and participation in research (DHHS, 2010; Rodriquez et al., 2008; Durant, Davis, St. George, Williams, Blumenthal, & Corbie-Smith, 2007).

The Greater New Orleans area has a disproportionate share of health disparities in the United States. …

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