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Training about implicit bias related to cancer clinical trial disparities was found to be highly effective at increasing participants’ knowledge about problems and solutions related to these disparities.

Clinical trials related to cancer tend to not reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of people with cancer in the United States. For a wide variety of complex factors that include implicit bias, cancer trials are not consistently offered to all potentially eligible patients in ways that could decrease these trial disparities. This study, published in JCO Oncology Practice, evaluated the utility and feasibility of a customized online training program combined with peer-to-peer discussion designed to help research teams identify their own biases while also offering strategies to mitigate and decrease them. 

Implicit Bias Training: The Key to Widespread Adoption

The specific learning module used in this study relied on a discussion of specific elements of the training, how researchers may apply the lessons contained within the learning materials in their own practice, and considerations about how to develop a useful peer-to-peer discussion in cancer clinical research settings that can help mitigate bias. A qualitative assessment was used to evaluate the discussions that participants had during the course of the study. Participation completion rates were very high, with 49 of 50 participating cancer programs completing the training. Out of 129 participating researchers, 126 completed the training and 119 completed both the training and evaluations. 

Online Training Effectively Increases Knowledge

The training used in this study increased the mean percentage change in knowledge scores by 19% to 45% across key concepts, such as the cause of health disparities. An increase in knowledge of 10% to 31% was also found regarding strategies to help address implicit bias and other diversity concerns in clinical trials, and knowledge was sustained at 6 weeks. The authors note that their study demonstrates the usefulness, feasibility, and ease of implementation of online implicit bias training as a way of reducing implicit bias in cancer research.


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Barrett, N. J., Boehmer, L., Schrag, J., Benson, A. B., 3rd, Green, S., Hamroun-Yazid, L., Howson, A., Matin, K., Oyer, R. A., Pierce, L., Jeames, S. E., Winkfield, K., Yang, E. S., Zwicker, V., Bruinooge, S., Hurley, P., Williams, J. H., & Guerra, C. E. (2023). An Assessment of the Feasibility and Utility of an ACCC-ASCO Implicit Bias Training Program to Enhance Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Cancer Clinical Trials. JCO Oncol Pract, Op2200378. https://doi.org/10.1200/op.22.00378