This past Tuesday, Greater Gift had the opportunity to make an impression on young, curious summer campers about the importance of clinical trials and giving back. Summit School of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, brought a group of middle school summer campers to tour and learn about the Innovation Quarter and broaden their perspective of our community and our impact near and far. Summit School’s summer camp program offers a wide variety of enriching, challenging and fun day camps for all age groups. The campers met with the Greater Gift team to learn about the importance of clinical research and our way of celebrating clinical trial participation. Intentionally asking the children how their medications got to their homes, we discovered that they recognized the importance of medications in their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. While we had the privilege to teach the campers about clinical research, they taught us four things that we believe the clinical research community should be aware of when interacting with our future generations.
1. Clinical research can be understood by anyone.
Have you ever tried to explain clinical research to a group of kids? To further explain to them how medications go from the pharmacy shelves to their counter tops we showed them the MT Pharmacy Video from CISCRP. They then recognized that clinical research is why they have asthma medication, eczema cream, and allergy pills, and without their medications (and the contributions of clinical trial participants) their lives would be very different.
2. There is a career for everyone in clinical research.
Asking the students “What they want to be when they grow up?” gave us responses such as gaming techs, emergency room doctors, marine biologists and more. Just like many individuals who currently work in clinical research, they may not have intended to find a career in this field but found a way to harvest their passion. Encouraging our youth to be open to this field and connecting this field to a variety of passions from writing to animals to healthcare was exciting for them. Using examples from our own personal roles in clinical research such as wanting to work in healthcare marketing or finance opened their eyes to the many contributors who fuel the clinical research ecosystem. Even using the example of companies like Clinical Ink showed them that there are many different groups that contribute to clinical research.
3. Relatability is vital.
Make clinical research personal and relatable. Tailored communication, language and examples help bring complex clinical research concepts to the real world for a specific audience.
Explaining that the Food and Drug Administration not only makes sure that medications, devices and therapies are safe for us to use but that they also ensure their favorite snacks are safe for us to eat was a game changer to helping the children understand how regulations work in clinical research. Keeping it simple, while making it relatable, is what will help others understand clinical research at any stage of life.
4. Compassion and knowledge are the driving forces behind furthering awareness.
Our non-profit organization intentionally thanks clinical trial contributors for their daily selfless acts of giving to advance medicine, while making a child’s life better in return, amplified empathy and compassion this group already possessed. Providing the students with the opportunity to present their own Greater Gift certificates to someone they believe needs to know about clinical research generated excitement and energy to go out in their world and tell others what they learned.
Educating and engaging our youth today in understanding the drug development process, the importance of celebrating clinical trial participation and being intentional to give back along the way is the future of global health.