Have you noticed while riding a Chapel Hill Transit bus lately that Rosie the Riveter is staring back at you from a poster exclaiming “We Can Do It!”? She’s rolled up her sleeves this time to go to work for improved health. She sports a Band-Aid, a button from the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute and wants you to consider participating in a clinical trial.
These posters are part of a communications pilot study running for three months on all 98 buses on all routes in and around the UNC campus. The purpose is to determine whether this approach can effectively encourage participation in clinical trials by driving traffic to www.researchstudies.unc.edu.
“We want to raise awareness about the website as a tool for people to find out more about participation in a trial,” said Michelle Maclay, communications specialist at NC TraCS, who led the team that developed the Rosie campaign. “Many people don’t realize the need for healthy volunteers and often how easy and non-invasive participation can be. The average person can make extraordinary contributions to the advancement of science and toward finding cures with relatively little effort. As we say, ‘Don’t leave it all to the scientists.’”
Indeed, the scientists can’t do it alone. They need all types of participants in clinical trials – both healthy and those suffering the health condition under study. Unfortunately, only 14 percent of clinical trials reach recruitment goals on time. Lack of adequate recruitment is many times what stalls, or sometimes halts, research altogether. For example, it takes over 5,000 patients to get enough data to file for a new drug application with the FDA.
There is a common misconception that participation in a clinical trial automatically means getting poked with needles or ingesting mysterious pills. In fact, for some trials your participation may involve answering questions through a phone or in-person interview. It may mean spitting saliva in a cup, running on a treadmill or receiving educational material or counseling and keeping a food log. There are many different ways to contribute to science.
If you haven’t seen Rosie yet -- because you walk or drive to campus -- not to worry. You too can click on the link and find out what studies to participate in. As Rosie says, “It’s easier than you think.”