New approach to attract diverse recruitment in research studies

Colleagues from KHP Neurosciences have contributed to a new approach to research study recruitment, called the ‘King’s Model’ to attract people from diverse backgrounds to participate in research, which has led to increased diversity in commercial and non-commercial studies. 

King's model groupThe study ‘Addressing the gap for racially diverse research involvement: The King’s Model for minority ethnic research participant recruitment was published in Public Health in Practice. 

Following the introduction of the King’s Model, recruitment of people from diverse backgrounds in commercial interventional studies increased from 6.4% to 16.1%, and for non-commercial studies, from 30.2% to 41.0% and 59.2% in the selected studies. 

Research participation varies greatly among different ethnicities. This has a direct effect on healthcare experiences and the extent to which personalised medicine can be applied to patients from ethnic minority backgrounds. 

Researchers identified that a novel, comprehensive approach was needed comprising of local and community actions to promote inclusive research recruitment. The King’s Model was developed with a local patient and public involvement group and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy team at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (NHS FT) and colleagues from KHP Neurosciences. 

The research team compared the rates of diverse recruitment in studies where the King’s Model was used, with those which had previously closed to recruitment and where ethnicity data was available. The project was led by: 

  • Prof K Ray Chaudhuri, professor of movement disorders and neurology, at King’s College London and King’s College Hospital NHS FT; 
  • Dr Josephine Ocloo, senior researcher at King’s College London; and 
  • Simon O'Donohue, head of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), King’s College Hospital NHS FT. 

Prof K Ray Chaudhuri said:

The shocking lack of inclusion of black and minority ethnic subjects in major clinical trials, which may shape heath policy guidelines for all, needs to be urgently addressed and the King’s Model proposal is the first such multidisciplinary attempt. We very much hope this will be implemented in all NHS Trusts across the UK serving diverse patient populations as well as, industry partners running clinical trials.

The King’s Model includes a set of internal and external actions which can help to increase the participation of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in research. These include internal actions: 

  • Attendance of meetings with senior management to highlight the issue and maintain dialogue; 
  • Attendance of smaller departmental meetings to educate staff and hear their views; 
  • Organising meetings focused on diverse recruitment strategies with key professionals with a track record of work on this issue; 
  • Creating electronic resources to drive research participation within the hospital. 

Community outreach with local community groups, schools, churches, colleges, and youth centres including: 

  • Identifying local champions; 
  • Webinars for local populations to address misconceptions and raise awareness; 
  • Attending awareness days to drive recruitment to COVID-19 vaccine trials with key staff on stalls; 
  • Disseminate videos featuring patient ambassadors from ethnic minority backgrounds. 

Underpinning the model is the MAADE scheme, which is a set of considerations to enable the long-term implementation of the King’s Model. The MAADE model includes: 

  • Monitoring the ethnicities of participants in research studies; 
  • Acceptability – challenging fixed assumptions about research and making it more acceptable; 
  • Accessibility – ensuring access to research participation for all; 
  • Drive – Trust-wide drive and initiatives for active engagement in research; 
  • Experience – Ensuring satisfaction with research participation. 

Read more about the study. 

To learn more about the work of KHP Neurosciences, visit the webpages here.