Looking for a way to raise awareness of clinical trials in your region and collect the names of people actively interested in trial participation? The folks at PMG Research in Winston-Salem, N.C. have two words for you: food trucks.
In April, after initially planning on its own smaller, standalone event, PMG piggybacked onto the city’s biggest food truck event—featuring 80 trucks across five city blocks—and, with an information table smack dab in the middle next to the ATM machine, enjoyed direct interactions with some 500 event goers.
“It was a relaxed environment” where clinical research coordinators, nurses, and active trial participants could engage other locals in conversation about the importance and relevance of clinical trials, and the nuts and bolts of how they work, says Chloe Baker, team captain for the Research Heroes, the PMG Research outreach group. “Having two trial participants there was a big help,” she adds.
The site brought in 10 team members, with some staying the whole time and others working in shifts during the 2-to-8 p.m. total run of the event. Better weather might have produced even better results, Baker says. It was cold and rainy all day and “we were shocked at how big the turnout was.”
Festivalgoers inquired about specific trials and shared treatment areas where they might like to participate in a trial if it was offered down the road, such as Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and weight loss studies.
In addition to information about clinical trials broadly and specific information about ongoing trials, PMG Research doled out giveaway goodie bags with t-shirts, lip balm, notebooks, and hand sanitizer. The site also drew traffic with a prize wheel that offered gift cards, among other enticements. The team also hosted a blood pressure screening station with two nurses sponsored by the American Heart Association.
The success of the PMG Research efforts also garnered the site an award on May 31 from Greater Gift, a North Carolina not-for-profit, along with prominent individuals in the clinical research industry who collaborated to bring “PopUp Star” competition events to cities across the world. In late 2017, companies in the clinical research industry formed teams and designed innovative, grass-roots efforts to raise awareness of the importance of clinical trials in local communities. During a 10-day period in early April, teams competed in Boston, Mass.; Charleston, S.C.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Sydney, Australia, engaging more than 1,500 individuals.
Baker suggests that sites hoping to produce a big event consider partnering with outsiders. In addition to drawing a bigger and more diverse crowd, the partner can handle the tedious and difficult red tape involved in areas such as logistics and permits.
Author: Michael Causey