Participation in clinical research could potentially use a boost — as many studies struggle to meet recruitment goals, study teams often look for ways to raise awareness of research opportunities and reach potential patients. The Bridging the Gap for Clinical Trials competition, an open artistic competition with cash prizes awarded to winning entries, seeks to use creative expression to raise awareness of the possibilities of clinical trials.
To learn more about the competition, Outsourcing-Pharma connected with two executives from organizer SiteBridge Research:
- Johanne Laboy, Head of Social Commitment
- Nancy Sacco, Director of Clinical Operations
OSP: In short, what is the Bridging the Gap for Clinical Trials program?
JL: The Bridging the Gap for Clinical Trials art competition is an opportunity for the community to use the power of art to inform, raise awareness, and spark conversations about clinical trials and the diversity of clinical trial participation.
OSP: How did the idea come about?
JL: During a corporate retreat, as we discussed how we could design, develop and implement innovative and groundbreaking community engagement efforts to simultaneously educate and entertain, said Allison Kalloo, co-founder of i-Participle, an art Lover and one of our consultants suggested incorporating art into the process. We all enthusiastically embraced the idea and developed it further as our entire team is a champion of the art.
OSP: Could you please tell us about SiteBridge and your mission to improve the patient experience – what tools, techniques and technology are you using to work towards that goal?
NS: As a startup, SiteBridge is made up of a small but dedicated team with over 100 years of combined clinical trials experience. We are community-focused, improving health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities, and underserved populations are our primary goal.
Our people, dedicated to excellence and success, are our most important tool. We are intentionally building a team that represents the communities we serve and is genuinely committed to improving access to medicines for those who do not have those opportunities.
We strive to be present where the communities we serve can benefit most from the services we provide. In terms of technology, we have contracted, through our SiteBridge Clinical/Site Development Operations function, to implement some of the best and most advanced platforms/training materials in the space: CRIO, Qualio and the AVOCA Knowledge Center.
We are now working on additional technology and patient support such as eConsent, direct payments to patients and visiting nurses. With these technologies and site/patient support, we have focused on breaking down the barriers to clinical research participation and improving the process for both sites and participating patients.
In addition, we are committed to ensuring that patient-centric technology is accessible and clinical site activities are managed by culturally competent CRCs who effectively and efficiently guide physicians and patients/participants through the clinical trial process.
OSP: How does this competition fit into this mission?
JL: Our community engagement department is on a mission to develop, sustain and sustain meaningful, lasting relationships in the communities we serve, while building trust. We also want to ensure that the voices of individuals, patients and study participants are heard before, during and after studies are conducted. The contest serves as a place for community members to express themselves while informing and educating others.
OSP: Then please let us know the categories and qualifications.
JL: Registration is free and anyone over the age of 18 can submit entries in the three categories of the competition – visual arts, music and spoken word. Qualifying entries in each category can win prizes ranging from $500 to $2,000. Those interested in participating must adhere to one of four distinct themes: personal experience, improved health outcomes, impact on family, friends or community, and access to medication.
OSP: Could you please tell us about the DEPICT Act, the DIVERSE Act and the Cures 2.0 Act and how these bills could help?
JL: We encourage interested contestants to exercise their public activism to get three recent bipartisan bills through Congress, each promoting diversity in clinical trials.
Historical inequalities in health and research between racial and ethnic minorities need to be addressed. The Diversified and Equal Participation in Clinical Trials Act (DEPICT) would require improved data reporting on clinical trial demographics and provide resources such as workshops and grants to increase access to clinical trials.
The Diversifying Investigations Via Equitable Research Studies for Everyone (DIVERSE) Act is important legislation for underrepresented populations to achieve better health outcomes through access to and education about clinical trials. It would also allow the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants or contracts to organizations to support education, outreach and recruitment for clinical trials.
The Cures 2.0 Act is legislation focused on accelerating the delivery of breakthrough, new – and potentially life-saving – cures, treatments and innovations to communities most in need. The law would create a new agency aimed at ending hard diseases — like cancer, diabetes, ALS, Alzheimer’s and others.
OSP: Do you have anything to add?
JL: It’s important to understand that diversity is critical in clinical trials, as people of different ages, races and ethnicities can respond differently to the same medicinal products. We want to make sure that the medicines and treatments that are developed work well for as many of us as possible. When this is not the case, this improves the data for understanding alternatives that should/must be developed that are effective for different groups.
The development of these drugs and alternative treatments requires the participation of diverse population groups. A big thank you to all those people of all racial/ethnic backgrounds who are participating in clinical trials and helping to make effective medicines and treatments a reality for all.