Engaging the general public in research, and clinical trials in particular, can sometimes be a challenge. For trials, this has often acted as a barrier to recruitment from many areas of our society.
With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that while our entire society was being affected, some communities were hit harder than others. Those most affected have been the very same communities that have historically been underrepresented in research in the UK.
As a national priority COVID-19 study for the UK, the PRINCIPLE team have been recruiting directly from the public, allowing people to join the trial from the comfort and safety of their home. This has created a huge need to engage with both the general public at large and to specifically increase efforts in those marginalised communities known to be most vulnerable.
With the appointment of Professor Mahendra G Patel, the PRINCIPLE trial has been working to engage with a diverse range of communities across the UK in order to increase general awareness around clinical trials and research. As people learn more about the purpose of our trials, and the contribution they make, engagement with our trial increases, helping to bring us closer in our mission to finding suitable treatments for COVID-19.
This has involved working with a range of groups and institutions that are the very fabric of our communities. We feel it is important that we engage with as many layers of our community as possible. Therefore we have now fostered relationships with everyone from religious and cultural groups, to local government, community press and even multinational companies.
We are above all trying hard to work with our local communities.