This Saturday, Nov. 6, the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) will host its first national live AWARE web broadcast. The goal: to use a combination of the web and personal interaction to educate the public about the importance of understanding and participating in clinical research.
Jill McNair, director of the nonprofit CISCRP’s AWARE program, explained how the live web event will work: 25 investigator sites around the U.S. will hold Clinical Research Education Day Events on Saturday, gathering people interested in learning more about the clinical trials process. First, viewers will watch the live broadcast from CISCRP on a large screen, then doctors at each site will personalize the program, speaking about how clinical trials work and answering questions. This will be followed by talks from patients who have participated in studies, dubbed medical heroes.
McNair said she expects about 75 people to attend at each site. Just who will be watching? The program, she said, will target minority and underserved populations, as they tend to be under-represented in clinical research. But the program is for anyone who’s curious about clinical research, either for themselves or for a family member.
“This really helps with community engagement, and all the sites are trying to be better at community engagement,” said McNair, adding that sites pay a sponsorship fee to receive the webcast.
And not a moment too soon, it seems. A recent CISCRP survey showed that 35 percent of people who signed informed consent forms said they did not understand what they signed, and another 10 percent claimed never to have read the document at all. Other surveys have shown that even though 94 percent of the public recognizes that participation in clinical research is very important for advancing medical science, 74 percent say they have no real knowledge of the clinical research process.
McNair said this will be the first of many live national broadcasts. Two are planned
The five-year-old AWARE program has held individual events in four or five major metropolitan areas each year with various health professionals, clinical research stakeholders and the public coming together to provide insight and answer questions about clinical trials. The events typically take place at neutral locations such as a YMCA—not at clinical sites.
People interested in attending the national live AWARE web broadcast can look for a nearby location by going online to www.awareforall.org. If there is no location nearby, people can sign up online to receive a link to the webcast that they can watch from home.
CISCRP’s principal aim is to alleviate a number of major healthcare issues by focusing on the root of one of the health system’s most significant problems: the severe shortage of volunteers to participate in clinical research trials.