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So let’s talk about clinical trials. Has anyone out there ever participated in one or know of someone who has? Have you ever thought about participating in one, but held back because you didn’t have enough information about what it would entail?  A lot of people fall into that category – they want to help out, but they don’t know enough about it or if it’s right for them, but I’m getting ahead of myself... Before we go any further, let’s talk about what a clinical trial exactly is.

A clinical trial is basically a scientific term for a test or study of a drug or medical device on people. These tests are done to see if the product is safe and effective for people to use. Health care providers run the tests according to strict rules set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which are put in place to make sure that people who agree to be in the studies are treated as safely as possible. Volunteering for these tests is important because 1) you get to try a new treatment that may or may not be better than those that already exist and 2) you may also help others better understand how the treatment works in people of different races and genders.

On Saturday, October 15th we will be partnering in an event with the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) to implement a one-day, free, open to the public education program in Chicago at the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center of Northwestern University.  It is entitled AWARE for All – Clinical Research Education Day. The purpose is to raise awareness of clinical research within the community and empower attendees to make educated decisions regarding their participation.  This is not an event to recruit or register people for clinical trials; AWARE for All is simply an educational opportunity for people who want to learn more about clinical research participation.

Along with conducting educational workshops, Aware for All will be providing free health screenings, an information and exhibit area, opportunities to meet local doctors, free raffle and prizes, and a delicious lunch for attendees.  If this seems like it’s right up your alley, please visit www.ciscrp.org to register or to get more information. Women and minorities are particularly encouraged to attend this event as they have historically been under-represented in clinical trials (and you’ll learn more about why it’s important to change this!). We hope to see you there!

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