Sites Harness Job Classifications to Improve Patient and Workforce Diversity

Mark Marchant, MPH, MBA, CCRP, Director, Clinical Trials Administrative Office, UAB

It’s hard to know where you are going if you don’t know where you are. While that might sound like a wise Buddhist instructor perched high atop a mountain in Tibet, it’s actually something of a professional mantra for two clinical trial leaders who are leveraging job classifications to improve diversity in the patient and workforce populations.

“We’re using job classifications to generate different pipelines to bring in new staff members” with diverse backgrounds, said Christine Deeter, a project planner with the Duke Office of Clinical Research (DOCR). For example, the DOCR has used its job classification system to identify who speaks foreign language, and have in turn made more forays into Spanish-speaking communities with those employees reaching out to help educate and recruit in typically underserved populations, she said.

A few hundred miles south, Mark Marchant and team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have adopted many of the DOCR’s tools and tactics in their own effort to cast a wider clinical trial net. “We’re working to build a bridge to help people in underserved communities better understand job opportunities in clinical trials, even as we try to educate people about participating in clinical trials themselves,”  said Marchant, MPH, MBA, CCRP, director of the Clinical Trials Administrative Office for UAB.

“It’s about building trust with people” who either were unaware or wary of the clinical trial space, Marchant said.

Deeter and Marchant agree there are a number of benefits to further professionalizing the clinical trial workforce, in addition to promoting diversity.

“We want to show people being a clinical trial professional isn’t just a job, it’s a career,” Marchant said. Using career mapping, for example, Marchant and team have been better able to recruit because employees “not only know where they are” in the corporate ladder, “but where they might go next,” he added.

“Job classifications have helped us put more people on a professional pathway,” Deeter said.

Author: Michael Causey