Purpose: To identify best practices in education related to the responsible conduct of clinical research (RCCR).
Method: American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) members involved with teaching RCCR were asked to complete an online survey, followed by an in-depth telephone interview. The online survey asked about respondents’ RCCR teaching, trainees, and institutional context. The phone interview involved discussions about teaching strategies, institutional context, and needs. The study was conducted between 2003 and 2005.
Results: Forty-eight respondents to the online survey indicated a breadth of topics being covered in RCCR curricula; 35 respondents indicated that their RCCR teaching applied toward institutional RCCR requirements. Among the 21 instructors interviewed, many described a wide variety of teaching responsibilities. Recommended teaching strategies included fostering interactive discussion, using skills-based exercises such as designing IRB applications, accommodating students’ individual interests in curriculum design, involving experienced researchers, involving trainees early in their careers as well as requiring continuing education, and designing a curriculum with a clear view of educational objectives. Interviewees described the institutional supports they needed, and they noted that insufficient support sometimes undermines RCCR teaching goals. Participants generally agreed that RCCR education should be required.
Conclusions: Strong agreement among participants concerning recommended strategies for teaching RCCR provides useful, if provisional, guidance to instructors and institutions charged with providing such training. The study suggests a need for substantial investments in RCCR training, studying outcomes, and developing mechanisms to ensure the quality of instruction.