Just ASK™

Equity and Diversity in Clinical Research

The Just ASK Minority Participation in Research Program helps to ensure patients are aware and knowledgeable about research and clinical trial participation and that researchers are well equipped with the necessary skills to communicate with diverse populations. The program provides support to research teams and clinical staff to improve minority enrollment in research.

The adaptation of "Just ASK: Increasing Diversity in Clinical Research Participation" — a course developed and piloted at Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) five years ago is now trademarked by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC). The Just ASK™ Increasing Diversity in Cancer Clinical Research: An ACCC-ASCO Training Program is being offered as "an online implicit bias training program intended for all members of the research team." The training, which provides a health equity framing and lens, consists of five interactive modules that can be completed independently in about 60-90 minutes, and focuses on the broader context of structural and systemic racism.

Created in 2017 and expanded in 2020, the Just Ask training, was tested by ASCO-ACCC as a result of Nadine Barrett's work and collaborations with Duke Cancer Institute, Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), CTSI’s Center for Equity in Research, and the Duke Office of Clinical Research (DOCR). The DOCR, leveraging the office’s research infrastructure, first rolled out Just Ask with the DCI clinical research teams, then expanded access to all clinical research teams across Duke through the Duke Engagement, Recruitment, and Retention Certification Program. The training has also been utilized by other national research institutions and organizations.

The Just ASK™ Training Program is one of two new ASCO-ACCC resources for research sites to help improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in cancer clinical trials. The other is the ASCO-ACCC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Research Site Self-Assessment, an online tool that helps research teams identify potential opportunities to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in clinical trials while doing an internal review of existing policies, programs, and procedures. 

The recent release of these new free-of-charge resources followed the publication, in May, of ASCO-ACCC recommendations addressing “the lack of equity, diversity, and inclusion in cancer clinical trials" and detailing "specific actions to engage the entire cancer clinical trial ecosystem in expanding the participation of underrepresented individuals in research."

For more information about the Just ASK program, please contact Dan Dardani at daniel.dardani@duke.edu.

(above: Nadine Barrett, PhD, creator of Just ASK and former director of the Duke CTSI Center for Equity in Research, speaks about the program.)