When a pharma company asked us to assist in their clinical trial recruitment for a new hypertension therapy, we jumped at the chance. Why? First, because their 50% minority participation goal was one of the most ambitious we’d ever seen — an opportunity to show what’s possible with the right team and tools. Second, because the drug being evaluated worked on the body through an unusual mechanism — a promising approach that could have a positive health impact in communities we care deeply about.
We identified more than 10 sites from our network in Black- and Hispanic/Latino-majority communities where hypertension is a known, but often under-diagnosed issue, conducted feasibility studies, and worked with our client and their CRO to finalize the locations. Then we really got to work.
The initial focus was an evaluation of the clients’ study materials. Our testing with patients and providers revealed an immediate challenge: those from underrepresented communities didn’t see the communications as being directed at them and didn’t feel that the study — as they understood it — would fit into their lives. So we reimagined copy and imagery to address their concerns.
Our team then initiated a unique team-oriented management process for our sites. In-person sessions forged strong relationships with staff. Group calls provided a forum for all the sites to share issues and opportunities. Working together, with a common goal, we were able to quickly identify and implement best practices that drove recruitment across the board.
In the end, our detailed, hands-on approach proved more than successful. Not only did we deliver above target — the study concluded with 53% minority participation — but we helped reduce the time allocated to the trial by a full six months, enabling presentation of the study results as “late-breaking news” at the AHA Scientific Sessions.