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Opportunities to Address Clinical Research Workforce Diversity Needs for 2010
resulting from the increases in prescription drug volume and the expanded responsibilities and roles of today’s pharmacist (HRSA, 2000).
A new model for training clinical investigators is emerging; formal clinical research training programs are replacing on-the-job training (Wolf, 2002; Zerhouni, 2003). Clinical research trainees must acquire specific expertise in study design, epidemiology, and biostatistics, to name a few areas (Wolf, 2002). They must also learn when and how to most effectively apply state-of-the-art techniques of clinical research, such as genomics and proteomics. Furthermore, they must be trained in those issues that pertain specifically to research involving human subjects, such as the principles of informed consent and human safety protection.
The complex nature of clinical research requires a team approach in which investigators interact with their team members across disciplines and geographical locations. Because of the past and present state of the clinical research workforce, proactive steps are needed to develop new paradigms for a diverse and capable clinical research workforce that meets the needs of twenty-first-century medicine. As the complexity and volume of research in the life sciences have increased, groups of various investigators have tended to pool together to tackle complex problems (Drenth, 1998; Cheung et al., 2001; HRSA, 2002; Collins et al., 2003). The future will see the need for more such research teams and thus the need to promote all the potential players of the clinical research enterprise.