Community engagement is an essential ingredient to inclusive research and diverse participation. Rachel Truxall, Vice President of Patient Experience spoke about the health events organized by Alcanza in communities near Alcanza sites, and the plan for future expansion.
Q: What community activities are taking place now? Where are some of the locations?
A: Alcanza’s patient experience team has made efforts to improve inclusive access to clinical research trials through free health screen events. Free health screening events may be held either within one of our sites or at an offsite location in the surrounding site’s community. Our free health screening events may include blood pressure checks, memory screens and glucose checks. Our offsite event locations have included a rural pharmacy in Charlottesville, VA, as well as a laundromat in Portsmouth, NH and a weekly Farmers Market in Lawrence and Metheun, MA. Patient recruiters and clinical research coordinators staff events to help explain the research process and the benefits of research participation.
Q: What does Alcanza hope to achieve through community engagement?
A: Providing free health screens in our surrounding communities is key in helping to bridge the gap in access to clinical trials in underserved populations. Through providing free health screens, Alcanza meets the four levels of community engagement: inform, consult, collaborate, and empower. We collaborate with community partners to determine an appropriate venue or location. We make efforts to meet and consult with leaders in free medical clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and other non-profit community organizations to help understand the health care barriers and needs. Health screen events provide us a meaningful opportunity to provide information to community members about their health and clinical trials. Information may help community members feel more empowered to make healthcare decisions for themselves and loved ones, including those decisions related to taking part in clinical research trials.
Q: How do you promote these events?
A: Our marketing team helped promote these events to local target audiences through email blasts, as well as social media ads. Our internal team also supplied content to the pharmacy and laundromat so they could text or email their customer lists. Each business advises on the appropriateness of the venue and the times of day that are most likely to reach the greatest number of people.
Q: How is clinical research information delivered at these events?
A: In a variety of ways that range from lectures, 1:1 meetings with health providers and brochures designed for patient-level comprehension.
Q: What’s your future vision for community engagement activities?
A: As we continue to expand and mature as an organization, our community engagement efforts will continue to grow and evolve to help ensure our sites’ surrounding community members have improved access to learn and take part in our clinical research trials. The resulting impact is that Alcanza Clinical Research sites will continue to be better positioned to meet the industry’s need to have a diverse and research-ready patient population.