YCCI is undertaking to determine what the public understands about participating in clinical trials and how to motivate volunteers to participate in them. This is particularly challenging in New Haven, an economically and racially diverse community in which more than 60 percent of the population is either African American or Hispanic.
In order to evaluate the community’s understanding of clinical research, YCCI has conducted market research with participants from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Focus group discussions revealed an attitude of mistrust among minorities that prohibited them from participating in clinical trials. Several barriers were identified to account for this attitude, including a lack of clinical research literacy, language barriers, and misinformation regarding the research process, rights of participants and the use of data.
To facilitate a greater awareness and understanding of clinical research, YCCI has partnered with Junta for Progressive Action and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Church. Junta is the oldest Latino community based non-profit organization in New Haven and the AME Zion Church is one of the nation's oldest African American congregations. YCCI’s goal in developing both partnerships is to raise the awareness of the Hispanic and African American populations of clinical trials. Representatives of Junta and AME Zion Church serve as Cultural ambassadors to Yale’s research programs. They act as expert resources, advising Yale investigators how best to raise awareness of clinical research and engage the community. Education is provided on an ongoing basis through monthly faculty presentations.
YCCI is also reaching out to the community via its Help Us Discover advertising campaign with ads targeted to the Hispanic and African American communities, as well as Yale students, faculty and staff. In the fall of 2014, the Help Us Discover campaign began appearing on Yale’s entire shuttle bus fleet that travels around New Haven, as well as to surrounding towns and the West Campus. Together with radio spots, Internet banners, participation in community health fairs, and a social media presence, these ads are part of a broader effort to develop strategies to increase the community’s awareness of clinical research at Yale.