Real People: Insights from Clinical Researchers
Author: Katherine Cornish
Jazmin Barnes is a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) that helps support clinical trials in North Carolina and its surrounding regions. As a CRA, she reviews documentation for clinical trials at many different trial sites, which are typically hospitals and academic universities. Jazmin is responsible for making sure that sites and site staff are fully trained and conducting the clinical trial according to the processes and procedures in the study protocol to ensure patient safety at every step. One of the highlights of clinical trial participation, she notes, is that patients receive especially good care from their physicians. Currently, she is supporting pediatric trials which she notes can be both heartbreaking and incredibly rewarding at the same time.
When discussing how clinical researchers can help encourage the communities they serve to raise their hand for participation, Jazmin notes the importance of having site staff and study teams engage directly in the community to build that foundational relationship of trust. She cautions against transactional relationships and suggests that sites should focus on continuing to establish and maintain long-term partnerships. “All it takes is one person to have a good experience, to say ‘I participated in a clinical trial and I loved it,’ and someone will ask and then more will ask and eventually people will start signing up,” she says. “Speaking with a leader in the community to identify the best way to foster that community relationship” is a key starting point, Jazmin shares. “Finding the right thing to work with the community to make the partnership fun and educational is just the beginning,” she says.
As a CRA, Jazmin shares that the most fulfilling aspect of her role in clinical research is the opportunity to be part of the process in which a new treatment comes to life, saving those that receive it in the future. “Hopefully one day, the drug we’re currently studying will be on the market for someone to get. There are so many diagnoses that we haven’t found a treatment for, so hopefully one of these treatments will be the one that save’s someone’s life,” she says. Jazmin also highlights that “it’s important to have everyone participate because we can’t expect to have a new drug come out that’s going to benefit us if they don’t have our information. Also, the representation – it’s always good to know that your population is included, that Sponsors are looking at everyone as a whole to see how new medicine affects us all, not just one population. We’re all going to need something sometime.”
When thinking about key information to share with potential clinical trial participants, Jazmin wants readers to know that “you’re not a guinea pig, there are thousands of people involved in monitoring trials to make sure they’re safe. And there are so many people in the clinical research community beyond your doctor or care team who are happy to answer any of your questions. If you do decide to participate, know that you’re saving someone else’s life in addition to saving your own. That drug could save your life, your spouse’s life, your grandparent’s life, your child’s life; that’s why it’s important for all of us to show up.”