LEANING IN: An MRCT Center Webinar Series


The MRCT Center is hosting a Leaning In webinar series that focuses on practical approaches and shared experiences for improving diversity in clinical trials.  Each webinar will highlight a topic covered in the MRCT Center’s “Achieving Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Clinical Research” Guidance Document and Toolkit, available for download on our Diversity in Clinical Trials website.  Wednesdays from 11 AM -12 noon ET. Register for webinars below.

Participants in clinical research should reflect the population affected by the disease, or those intended to utilize the intervention. Early and active engagement from participants, patients, caregivers, and communities can influence and improve the design and execution of clinical research, including efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion. Further, appropriate and meaningful engagement offers opportunities for outreach to individuals and communities including those underrepresented or underserved in research, addresses priorities that are important for patients and potential participants, and to draws upon the perspectives of the very individuals for whom the research is intended.

In the first of seven of the MRCT Center’s ‘Leaning-In’ Webinar Series, speakers will discuss:

  • The importance of community engagement in improving diverse representation in clinical research and research outcomes.
  • Strategies to effectively and mindfully engage with the community and how to introduce clinical research in a respectful and culturally sensitive way.
  • How clinical trialists can utilize and adapt the MRCT Center’s Guidance Document and Toolkit to plan for community engagement.
  • Success and failure stories from the experts in the field
🎥  Watch webinar recording           ⬇️   Download slides

We are pleased to invite you to our webinar on Workforce Development as part of the MRCT Leaning In: A Webinar Series – Practical Approaches to Improving Diversity in Clinical Trials. Moderated by Luther Clark, MD Deputy Chief Patient Officer at Merck, we will be joined by MRCT Center’s Sarah White, MPH to review recommendations made in the Achieving Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in Clinical Research Guidance Document. Guest speakers include Racquel W. Bruton, Senior Clinical Operations Lead at Biogen, and Karen M. Winkfield, MD, PhD, Executive Director at Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: A clinical research workforce, including clinicians, investigators, research team members, referring physicians, sponsors, CROs and patient recruitment vendors, should be trained in the skills necessary to support, understand, and communicate with a culturally diverse participant population. A clinical research workforce that is diverse in itself is also better able to prioritize, connect, care for, and successfully recruit a diverse participant population in research.

In the second session of the MRCT Center’s ‘Leaning-In’ Webinar Series speakers will discuss:

  • The opportunities to enhance and train clinicians and healthcare providers on cultural competence, humility and implicit bias
  • The importance of a diverse participant pool in clinical research
  • Strategies companies can utilize to improve their own workforce diversity
  • How clinical trialists can utilize and adapt the MRCT Center’s Guidance Document and Toolkit to evaluate and enhance their Workforce Development
  • Success and failure stories from experts in the field


In clinical research, the study question and study design should consider how diversity and inclusion of underrepresented, understudied, and underserved populations are being addressed. A number of remediable barriers and obstacles exist due to study design, eligibility criteria, and/or site selection that prevent adequate representation from all subgroups – whether that be by race/ethnicity, age, sex, or other demographic data, such as employment status or income level. Proactive planning, coupled with early and continuous engagement with patients and potential participants, is essential to ensure that the clinical research trial is designed to answer appropriate and relevant questions and conducted to accommodate participation from a diverse population.

In the third session of the MRCT Center’s ‘Leaning-In’ Webinar Series, speakers will discuss:

  • How the study question will inform appropriate representation in the clinical research trial and the impact that study design can have on answering the study question
  • The opportunities to involve, engage, and incorporate patients, participants, communities, and advocates to inform study design
  • The importance of broadening eligibility criteria to support inclusion of diverse populations
  • Strategies for successful site selection and accurate feasibility assessments
  • Success and failure stories from experts in the field


An individual’s willingness to enroll and participate in clinical research will depend not only on the study objectives, risks, and benefits of the trial, but also upon how the study is conducted.  Study conduct – including the ways in which participants are recruited and retained – pertains to behavioral and logistical practices in clinical research.   Underrepresented populations in research often face barriers to participation that must be understood and addressed in study planning as well as throughout study implementation.  Strategies to engage the desired study population, and later the individual participant, should emphasize the methods that increase the convenience, accessibility, and comfort to participate.

In the fourth session of the MRCT Center’s ‘Leaning-In’ Webinar Series, speakers will discuss:

  • Barriers often faced by clinical research participants, especially those related to underrepresented and underserved populations
  • Overall strategies that trialists should consider to improve study conduct for general and specific subpopulations
  • Recruitment and retention tools available to be adapted to a clinical research trial
  • Success and failure stories from experts in the field