What Researchers Need to Know for the Week of April 25, 2022 - Vibrent
Blog | April 25, 2022

What Researchers Need to Know for the Week of April 25, 2022

The need for diversity in research participant populations was a key theme in health research news last week, as well as a priority topic for governing agencies like the FDA.  

We’ve curated five important headlines health researchers need to see to remain ahead of the curve – and capable of delivering research studies that benefit all of our communities effectively. 

National Institutes of Health News 

The ripple effects of funding on researchers and output 

A new paper reveals that funding from the National Institutes of Health stimulates research beyond just the initial project – by supporting the teams that conduct the research. The article indicates that the productivity of principal investigators (PIs) and other faculty is heavily affected by funding, and that the same is true of trainees and staff. Funders usually focus on the outcomes of a research project, but the authors suggest that they should also consider how funding ripples through the wide range of people, including trainees and staff, employed on projects. 

NIH Distinguished Investigator Discusses Impact of Pandemic on Diversity in the Workplace 

Elaine Jaffe, MD, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) distinguished investigator at the National Cancer Institute at NIH, offers her advice for female medical researchers who face a declining number of female colleagues in the workforce.  

Dr. Jaffe is receiving the American Society for Investigative Pathology Gold-Headed Cane Award and is presenting an award lecture at the Experimental Biology 2022 conference on the classification of lymphoma in the modern era—a marriage of pathology and genomics. 

All of Us Research Program News 

How EHR Data, Survey Responses Can Mitigate Clinical Research Bias 

Could excluding participants based on missing EHR data cause bias in the models or recommendations towards participants who have more EHR data? A recent report makes this suggestion. Although missing EHR data is a big challenge, the reality may be that participant records could span multiple hospitals, or reflect socioeconomic factors that prevent patients from seeking care such as income, insurance, and distance. 

The authors suggest that the solution, as demonstrated by the All of Us Research Program, could be assessing EHR missingness using MH surveys. 

Research Participant Recruitment 

eConsent Done Right: A Powerful Tool to Build Trust and Diversity in Research  

 Researchers use a variety of tools and techniques to reach out and recruit diverse participants to their studies. But the best recruitment campaign does little good if potential participants encounter a stack of informed consent legalese that overwhelms with information instead of building trust and understanding.

Decentralized eConsent technology can change that. eConsent can improve the informed consent process and help researchers overcome some of the barriers to recruiting and retaining diverse participants for their studies. 

Diversity Initiatives in Health Research 

Only 43% of clinical trials report race and ethnicity — What can be done? 

Clinical trials are in the headlines as the FDA releases new guidance about the importance of diversity. This is critical, because without efforts to recruit a more diverse participant population, clinical trials may not be able to accurately predict how well the therapies will work, and this can be dangerous.  

A new study demonstrates that much more work needs to be done to ensure that the reporting and representation of race and ethnicity is equitable in clinical trials. 

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