Real Stories: Insights from Clinical Researchers
Beatrice Doe, Clinical ResearcHER and Project Specialist
Author: Katherine Cornish
Beatrice Doe is currently a Project Specialist who supports clinical trials for a Contract Research Organization (CRO). CROs are often the partners to pharma companies when it comes to running the clinical trials – team members on the CRO side like Beatrice make sure all of the data is accurate and complete, they make sure the site team members like the nurses and doctors are following all of the right steps, and they tackle a lot of the administrative and process work that keeps a clinical trial up and running smoothly.
Prior to her role as a project specialist, she worked as a clinical research coordinator (CRC) at a pediatric institute. While a CRC, Beatrice was able to support a variety of different clinical trials, including cardiology studies and COVID-19 studies. As part of her duties, she spent a lot of time reviewing patient charts to identify potential patients who would be eligible to benefit from joining a clinical trial based on their medical conditions. Working on patient recruitment, Beatrice had the chance to reach out to families and introduce them to clinical research, sharing information about clinical trials and specific studies that she felt that someone would be able to participate in. As a CRC, Beatrice notes that her favorite aspect of the role was to “make sure that our patients were receiving the best care,” whether this was through face-to-face contact, phone calls, or even check-in text messages. Highlighting how important the personal touch was, she mentioned how much patients “appreciated that our site was really focused on them.”
When asked about what she finds the most fulfilling about her current and previous roles in clinical research, Beatrice highlights her time working on patient recruitment efforts. “I enjoy watching the families light up at the fact that maybe what you (the research team) are doing could help their child or even the general public. They like feeling like they’re making a difference.” In particular, she calls out how important it is to get families comfortable with clinical trial participation – and then how it’s doubly rewarding to be able to help break down their fears and see them excited to participate in a trial. One approach to drive and support trial participation by marginalized populations is to ensure that the patients and the local community are able to connect with and see themselves within the study team. “I enjoy the aspect of seeing people who initially did not want to join a study but then were more open to joining after seeing the study team and realizing there were people that looked like them leading the study,” she mentions.
Beatrice also provides a shout out to patient advocates. “I think the most important thing [in encouraging trial participation from populations that are not well represented in clinical research] is patient advocacy. Patient advocates are very important in the community, they provide information to people about all of their different options they might not have known about. Patient advocates can align with community leaders, churches, and others to really connect and support the communities; they do so much for accessibility to care too.” As a former site study team member, she continues to highlight the importance of study teams getting out there and engaging with the communities they serve. “Being out there, showing our faces, explaining about the services they’re able to provide, explaining clinical trials to everyone” is key in building that connection between communities and clinical research, Beatrice notes. Study team member have the responsibility to “provide the knowledge for people in communities to make their own decisions.” “It’s not about telling them what to do,” she says, “it’s about providing the information and the support and the care.”
Beatrice highlights how important it is to consider participation: “Every person that joins can change the future; maybe it isn’t always your particular situation, but you’re able to help the future population… and that’s a beautiful thing.”
Author: Katherine Cornish