Published September 19, 2018
A paper published this summer in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science marked the culmination of a two-year collaboration between four universities that’s being called a model of multi-site, team-based translational science.
“Best Practices in Social and Behavioral Research: A Multisite Pilot Evaluation of the Good Clinical Practice Online Training Course” lists 13 authors, including principal investigator Susan L. Murphy, ScD, OTR/L, associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan. She was on a team that developed an e-learning course for social and behavioral clinical research professionals in response to a new policy from the NIH that requires training in good clinical practice (GCP) for social and behavioral clinical trials.
“Most training courses in GCP have been designed with biomedical clinical trials in mind and course content has not traditionally covered issues specific to the conduct of social and behavioral clinical trials,” the authors write in the introduction. “The course, supported by the use of social and behavioral research examples, provides tailored GCP training to highlight the most salient issues in research conduct.”
Margarita Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and workforce development director of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, is one of the authors on the pilot evaluation study, which measured the feasibility and effectiveness of the e-learning course. She said Murphy introduced the new course to other Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) hubs at the CTSA Workforce Development Domain Task Force meeting held during the annual Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) conference in Washington, D.C. in April 2016. The committee consists of researchers from the more than 50-site CTSA network who meet by teleconference monthly and in person at the ACTS annually.
Murphy presented clips of the new e-learning course at the 2016 ACTS conference. Conversations that followed from that meeting led to a plan for conducting a systematic assessment of the course. Researchers from the University of Florida, the University at Buffalo, Boston University and the University of Michigan ultimately joined together to evaluate the course at their respective locations, recruiting volunteers and collecting and sharing their data.
“This project should be considered a model for how to run multi-site, team-based, collaborative research,” Dubocovich said. “Thanks to her professional manner, Dr. Murphy was able to keep the team motivated, forward-looking and focused to bring the study to completion. Her goals were clear, deadlines were communicated in a timely fashion and all the participants felt as though they had a say in how the trial was to be conducted.”
The next step is to run in more in-depth evaluation with more participants in a larger study.
“This approach could be a model for assessing and implementing distance learning for all 14 clinical and translational research core competencies across the CTSA network,” added Dubocovich.