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Opportunities to Address Clinical Research Workforce Diversity Needs for 2010
insufficient evaluation of existing programs limits assessment of success. Interdisciplinary research among basic and clinical scientists would broaden clinical research interest and should be encouraged.
The study committee clustered its recommendations around the following themes:
Adequate collection of the appropriate data;
Evaluation of the training landscape and mechanisms;
The special needs of nursing;
The pipeline and the career path for clinical researchers; and
The role of professional societies.
These themes contain systemic challenges that affect the entire clinical research enterprise, as well as specific challenges that should be addressed to improve the strength, character, and diversity of the workforce.
A fundamental difficulty in examining issues surrounding clinical research is the lack of data on the clinical research enterprise as a whole, including data on funding levels, training programs, and who participates in the workforce. It is a challenge to examine ways to sustain and replenish the clinical research workforce when the existing data do not permit an understanding of the state of the clinical research enterprise.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the Department of Health and Human Services should initiate a process that will develop the consistent definitions and methodologies needed to classify and report clinical research spending for all federal agencies, with advice from relevant experts and stakeholders (federal sponsors and academic centers). Such a step would allow a better understanding of the training and funding landscape and would enable accurate data collection and analysis of the clinical research workforce.