Beginning March 7, experts from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine are offering a course on what you need to know when considering joining a research study.
“We wanted to offer this free course to provide community residents with the information they need to make an informed decision about participating in research studies,” says Erin Haynes, DrPH, who is co-director of Community Engagement of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST) and director of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) of the Center for Environmental Genetics.
“Course attendees will gain a better understanding of how research is conducted, as well as the risks, benefits and important precautions to consider before joining a research study,” says Victoria Straughn, who will be instructor/facilitator for the two courses offered throughout March and May. “We also want attendees to learn about regulations and the consent process.”
Straughn is a research coordinator for the Center for Environmental Genetics and provides ongoing assistance and support to the COEC and the CCTST, which are responsible for coordinating educational programs to improve the relationship between researchers and community.
The class, made up of four 90-minute sessions will also address history and ethics in research, examples of good clinical practice, the differences in anonymous versus confidential studies and the role of the clinical assistant.
“I think offering this 101-style course at a broad, non-scientific level helps us work toward a true informed consent process. We want to equip the community with sufficient information to make an informed decision to either join or decline research studies and to understand risk and benefits to participating,” says Straughn.
The course is offered through UC’s Communiversity, a non-credit, continuing education clearinghouse. All class sessions will be taught at the Summit at New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn.
“We also see this as an opportunity to engage and better understand the perceptions and barriers around research studies and participation and possibly identify research needs in these communities. This feedback will help us as an institution make improvements in recruitment and to consider new areas of research,” says Haynes. An associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health, Haynes currently oversees grant research that partners with communities in eastern Ohio about environmental exposure contaminants from nearby metallurgical manufacturing plants.
Haynes and Straughn hope for about 60 attendees total across the two course session offerings. If the course is received well, they hope to use the Communiversity venue for additional community outreach and education opportunities.