Empowering natural clinical trial advocates: nurses and outreach workers.Pac Health Dialog. 2007 Mar; 14(1):135-41.PH
Cancer clinical trials are essential to advancing the prevention and treatment of cancer, yet adult participation rates in clinical trials remain abysmal. Despite the essential contributions of clinical trials to science and medicine, adult participation in clinical trials remains exceedingly low, with only 2%-4% of all adult patients with cancer in the U.S. participating in clinical trials. Clinical trials accrual rates in Hawai'i follow this national trend of less than 3% of eligible patients participating in trials. Recognizing the need to increase awareness about clinical trials, the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service-Pacific Region, through the Hawai'i Clinical Trials Education Coalition, has employed strategic dissemination plans to train and educate key target audiences, including registered nurses, nursing students, and community outreach workers about the availability of over 90 cancer clinical trials in Hawai'i. Previous research suggests that nurses often play a vital role in increasing a patient's understanding of clinical trials and may also act as a patient advocate in regards to participation in a clinical trial. A train-the-trainer model curriculum was developed using the Clinical Trials Education Series (CTES), a collection of multi-level resources designed by the National Cancer Institute, to educate various constituents about clinical trials. The training curriculum and workshop format is adapted based on both formal and informal needs assessments conducted with audiences prior to the planned training, yet key elements remain central to the training model. In addition, an interactive, internet-based case study was developed using local place names and cultural cues to allow training participants to engage in realistic and practical methods for locating and sharing information about clinical trials with patients and the public. This training model has been implemented in a variety of settings including three statewide nursing conferences, two college campuses, and a community-based workshop. Evaluation results consistently indicate statistically significant increases in participants' knowledge and awareness related to clinical trials, and a cadre of trained clinical trials advocates is developing. Health professional advocacy towards adult participation in clinical trials is gaining momentum, with plans to expand the training model throughout the Pacific region.