Since its inception in 2003, AWARE for All has amassed an impressive track record of engagement in over 60 cities, including Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia. The program is also prominent in the Research Triangle – Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, N.C.
CISCRP teams with research and community partners to provide quality speakers and information on clinical research, and nearly 100% of the 18,000+ attendees rated the program as excellent and highly informative. AWARE for All programs feature free health screenings, an Information Alley/Exhibit Area, meaningful talks from prominent community-based medical professionals and study volunteers, as well as free food and giveaways. Part of what makes AWARE unique and effective is that CISCRP engages over 250 community partners in each host city. Major universities and research hospitals, community health agencies, patient advocacy groups, and grassroots entities such as places of worship, community centers and even neighborhood hair salons work with CISCRP to promote the program and educate the public.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), partnered with CISCRP to plan and implement a local clinical research awareness day, providing consultation and support in program evaluation by reviewing current goals and methods. NCI’s Office of Market Research and Evaluation determined that the current questions being used to test clinical trial knowledge met ethical and high quality standards.
According to attendee evaluations of the programs conducted to date, on average:
- 95% of respondents report that AWARE addressed their concerns
- Over 94% of respondents are likely to tell their friends and family that they learned something at AWARE
- Prior to AWARE, only about 15% of attendees have participated in a clinical trial
- After attending the program, 96% rate their understanding of the clinical research process and its importance as good or excellent
- Over 80% of attendees state that they are more likely to participate in a clinical trial if invited by their doctor
Why are AWARE for All events important?
Surveys have shown that 94% of the public recognizes that participation in clinical research is very important to advance medical science, however,
- 74% say they have no ‘real’ knowledge of the clinical research process
- 98% do not know where and how to identify and evaluate appropriate clinical studies for patients diagnosed with cancer and other chronic diseases.
The need for public education about clinical research participation is clear. There is a critical moment of educational opportunity during the patient’s review of the informed consent document, which is required by all participants to sign before beginning a study, but data has shown that:
- 35% of people who signed consent forms said they did not understand what they signed and another
- 10% claimed never to have read the document at all.
At the same time, the pharmaceutical industry spends millions of dollars per year on patient recruitment efforts that target patients for particular studies but do not address patient education. Of special concern is under-representation of minority groups in clinical research trials. Data recently collected by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development reflects that participants in clinical studies included only 9.6% African-Americans, 3.3% Asians, and 7.6% Hispanics, for a total of 20.5%, yet these three minority groups comprise over one third of the U.S. population. This situation is of great concern because the information we get from clinical trials is of greater value when trial participants more closely represent our population.
Through AWARE for All, CISCRP and our organizational partners help build greater awareness and understanding of the clinical research process and the important role participation plays in advancing medical knowledge.
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