On July 22nd, attendees logged on to view the AWARE for All – Midwest virtual event. The third event in a sequence of five running throughout 2021, AWARE for All – Midwest aimed to break down the clinical trial process, share a variety of perspectives from trial participants and healthcare professionals, and answer common questions and misconceptions many have about clinical trials.
The event started with an overview presentation about how clinical trials work and the important role trial participants play in the process. The presentation was led by Steve Satek, Founder & President at Great Lakes Clinical Trials, who explained the importance of informed consent, how to decide if a clinical trial is right for you, and why clinical research is so important to the advancement of medicine.
As Steve noted, “It could have been five, ten, or even twenty years ago that people chose to participate in clinical trials that paved the way for the medication you take today.”
The next segment of the webinar featured a panel discussion, led by a group of clinical trial participants and healthcare professionals who shared their stories and perspectives. Among the clinical trial participants were Nia Grant, a Type 1 Diabetes trial participant, Lynne Jordan, a talented performer and COVID-19 vaccine trial participant, and Dorie Rivera, a mother, caregiver, and rare disease advocate.
There are many different reasons someone might choose to join a clinical trial. For Nia, participating in clinical research gave her a chance to represent her community and ensure diverse populations were included. Nia said, “Representation in research is important. If there are no trial participants who look like me, how can a doctor be sure a treatment is effective?”
For Lynne, joining a clinical trial gave her the chance to be a part of the effort to tackle the COVID-19 public health crisis, making a difference for her community and around the world. As Lynne recalled, “As a member of a community disproportionately affected by COVID-19, I wanted to be a part of the solution to this crisis.”
For Dorie, enrolling her daughter in a clinical trial gave her access to new treatments and gave her family the hope they needed. After being referred by other parents, Dorie decided to give the trial a try, stating “It was either joining a trial or facing complete hopelessness.”
The AWARE – Midwest panel discussion also featured several healthcare professionals who shared their experiences, including Dr. Anna Lok, Holly Milaeger, MPH, and Dr. Manish Jain. Together, the panelists tackled issues related to clinical trials such as the importance of diversity, how barriers to participation can be overcome, and the best ways to educate and inform about clinical trials, starting at a community level.
After the webinar concluded, viewers were able to navigate to the Informational Exhibit Center, a virtual exhibit hall that offers resources and information from over 40 health and wellness organizations in the Midwest region and across the country. A quick ‘click’ connects visitors with local advocacy organizations like Latino Union of Chicago, Indigenous Peoples Task Force, and The Chrysalis Initiative. The Informational Exhibit Center also features a Health and Wellness Pavilion where visitors can watch health exercises and tips, and a theater with short educational videos about clinical trials.
If you missed the AWARE for All – Midwest event or would like to tune in again, the recorded webinar and Informational Exhibit Center remain accessible here.
View more 2021 AWARE for All events here.