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Educating Local Communities: Spotlight on CISCRP’s AWARE for All Program

CISCRP’s AWARE for All flagship initiative is a fifteen-year-old, internationally recognized program developed to address health disparities and low levels of clinical research literacy. In an effort to integrate with local health systems and community outreach channels CISCRP works to bring together healthcare professionals, faith-based groups, minority community centers and leaders, researchers, patients, and members of the public. CISCRP’s AWARE for All program has visited and helped educate over 60 communities since its inception. AWARE’s schedule of events for 2018 includes Washington, D.C. on April 19, Los Angeles, California on May 19, Dublin, Ireland on October 17, and in Boston and Atlanta this Fall (dates TBD).

AWARE events typically attract between 300 to 600 patients and members of the public, including family members and caregivers. As a non-profit that does not conduct or recruit for clinical trials, CISCRP is uniquely positioned as a trusted source for grassroots education about clinical research participation. Through collaborations with over 200 community and health groups, the program is heavily marketed to minority populations that are severely under-represented in clinical trials. Of AWARE’s 18,283 total attendees, approximately 60% have self-reported to be a member of an underserved community group. Ellyn Getz, CISCRP’s Senior Manager of Development and Community Engagements notes, “With our internationally recognized program we seek to connect and educate local community members to empower and enable them to make informed decisions regarding their health care options.”

At every AWARE event, attendees are asked to fill out surveys. These surveys collect their demographic information as well as their attitudes regarding the usefulness of the information presented and the likelihood of their volunteering for a clinical research study, etc. This data proves to be a useful tool to improve the program. Consistently, our data has shown that 92% of AWARE participants are more likely to volunteer for a clinical study after they have attended our program (92% post-program vs. 43% pre-program), 95% of our attendees are likely to tell their family and friends about something they learned at our program, and 91% would consider suggesting that their family or friends participate in a trial.

Since 2016, CISCRP has been developing new add-on elements to the AWARE for All engagement campaigns to create awareness around clinical research and generate buzz leading up to the events. Most recently, CISCRP collaborated with Sanofi and Langland on the MT Pharmacy initiative, a pop up store that demonstrated what modern medicine would look like without clinical trials and study volunteers. Over 450 people visited the MT Pharmacy during the week it was open in Newark, New Jersey and around 120 of those individuals attended the AWARE-Newark program after their visit. The video of the award-winning MT Pharmacy initiative can be viewed on CISCRP’s Youtube Page.

CISCRP plans to replicate this initiative globally to elevate knowledge and literacy about clinical research participation. CISCRP is also currently collaborating with Janssen and Wondros to develop a mobile unit that will travel around Los Angeles in the weeks leading up to the AWARE – LA 2018 program this coming May. The RV will contain interactive displays with information about clinical research, as well as information about the upcoming AWARE program at USC.

One of the biggest take-aways from the AWARE for All campaign has been to cultivate a strong, dedicated team of local supporters to help steer and customize this initiative to be both culturally-sensitive and relevant to the local community. CISCRP looks to local organizations to support the program in a variety of ways: sponsorships, outreach assistance, health screenings, speakers, volunteers, and exhibitors. In exchange, organizations receive unprecedented visibility via event marketing, including branding opportunities on event collateral and materials. Please contact awareforall@ciscrp.org to learn more and to bring AWARE for All to your local community!

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