Last month the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosted a workshop on clinical trial participation. The “NIH Workshop on the Enrollment and Retention of Participants in NIH-Funded Clinical Trials” set out to identify innovative approaches to engage individuals in clinical trials, and to promote a sense of partnership among researchers and participants.
Jamie Roberts, MA, CCRP, clinical trials recruitment specialist at NIH, shared more about the objectives of the workshop and its outcomes.
MJFF: What was the impetus for holding this workshop?
Jamie Roberts: NIH has been interested in clinical trial enrollment and retention for some time, and recognizes a growing interest in this topic across a spectrum of stakeholders, including patient advocacy groups, foundations and Congress.
MJFF: How many people attended?
JR: We hosted more than 170 attendees at the workshop, and 210 viewed the live webcast. Representatives from the NIH, industry, patient advocacy organizations and academic institutions participated, as well as researchers, clinicians, and research coordinators.
MJFF: What challenges and opportunities were covered at the workshop?
JR: We discussed current challenges in clinical trial participation and enrollment, but we also discussed best practices and opportunities to overcome those hurdles.
Conversations touched on roles for public foundations in promoting clinical research participation and potential public/private partnerships to increase awareness and engagement. The attendees shared models to identify and support clinical trial participants, and strategies for monitoring participation and for post-trial communication.
MJFF: What was your biggest takeaway from the workshop?
JR: The overarching message out of the workshop is that “multifactorial problems need multifactorial solutions,” as Dr. Jill Abell said. Simply put, there is a real need for comprehensive and thoughtful approaches to clinical trial recruitment and retention.
Public foundations such as The Michael J. Fox Foundation may be particularly well suited to lead these efforts, as they can convene varied partners who can work together to promote clinical trial participation. Also, they can support the activities of “research alumni,” who can serve as ambassadors for clinical trial participation in their communities.
MJFF: What results do you hope to see come out of this meeting?
We hope that the workshop will encourage stakeholders to collaborate and to continue to share recruitment and retention strategies to ultimately advance clinical research.
Learn more about clinical research participation.