Mary Madu and Kimberly Bradley Lead Brown Bag Presentation on Clinical Trial Recruitment

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The VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (VCU Wright CCTR) hosted the second in its five-part Fall Brown Bag Lunch seminar series. Attendees were encouraged to bring their lunch and learn about best practices for clinical trial recruitment in a presentation led by Kimberly Bradley, EMT, CCRP, manager of the coordinator pool for the CCTR’s Clinical Research Services (CRS), and Mary Madu, CCRC, advanced research coordinator for the CRS.

“People need to be invested in their own care before others can invest in them,” Madu said. “I try to be a support and source of education for folks so they can make informed decisions about their health and participation. Clinical trials have the opportunity to be a fun and really positive experience for all parties involved once participants are invested in themselves and they see that I am invested in them and the work that I do.” 

In addition to sharing their own best practices in clinical trial recruitment, Madu and Bradley discussed the various free resources available at VCU, including StudyFinder, ResearchMatch, and the VCU Clinical Trials Facebook page

“Exposure is an opportunity to educate,” Bradley said. “The more potential participants hear and learn about clinical trials, the more they’ll feel comfortable with the idea of participating. I always go back to the importance of education, whether that’s at the level of a participant, coordinator, or study team… Everyone can benefit from education.”    

The discussion of consent as a form of empowerment for participants was also discussed at length. For those suffering from a serious disease or illness, oftentimes they may feel as if they don’t have a choice in the care they receive or decisions that are made. It is the responsibility of the study team to stress that participating in a clinical trial is a choice that participants make for themselves.

“I consider my study participants to be invited guests and I treat them as such,” Madu said. “I want them to know that there is tremendous value in participating in a clinical trial, but that they have the power to remove themselves from it at any time. It’s important to me that they have a positive experience because I want them to know that I believe their time is valuable and they are valuable.”

To learn more about the VCU Wright CCTR’s Clinical Research Services, visit www.cctr.vcu.edu/clinicalresearch.

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Mary Madu, CCRC, advanced research coordinator for the CRS
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Kimberly Bradley, EMT, CCRP, manager of the coordinator pool for the CRS

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CCTR’s Fall Brown Bag Lunch Series Kicks Off Aug. 18

The VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (Wright CCTR) will host the first of its new fall Brown Bag Lunch seminars on Thursday, Aug. 18.

Antonio Abbate, M.D., Ph.D., associate chair of the Scientific Review Committee (SRC), medical director for the CCTR’s Clinical Research Services Center, and vice-chairman of the Division of Cardiology for the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine, will lead a presentation on the Scientific Review Committee, which was established to provide study design, analytic planning and operational feasibility peer review of clinical research before review by the IRB.

This presentation is the first in a series of five fall CCTR Brown Bag Lunch seminars taking place over the coming months. 

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CCTR Hosts Final BIC Brown Bag Seminar Focused on Cohort Discovery and Clinical Data Reporting

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The C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) hosted the final seminar in the BIC Brown Bag Lunch series which featured the various resources offered by the CCTR’s Biomedical Informatics Core (BIC).

On Thursday, May 12, Shannon Bruffy, IT specialist for BIC, and Jun He, research informatics application analyst for BIC, led a presentation on cohort discovery and clinical data reporting.

i2b2Bruffy focused her portion of the presentation on Cohort Discovery (i2b2), a tool that was developed at Harvard Partners Healthcare through a CTSA grant. i2b2 allows users to search a de-identified database, without IRB approval, to determine the existence of a set of patients meeting specified criteria. She also reviewed best practices for effective query building, which includes searching by time, multiple key words, and proper codes.

Jun He discussed the limitations and abilities of data extraction. Stressing the importance of good practice when submitting requests for data, He asked that requests be made after IRB approval has been obtained, with the conditions for requests provided, and with acronym explanations.

To submit a BIC request and learn if you’re eligible for assistance, visit go.vcu.edu/bicrequest.

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First image up top: Shannon Bruffy, IT specialist for CCTR’s Biomedical Informatics Core

Third image from top: Jun He, research informatics application analyst for CCTR’s Biomedical Informatics Core

CCTR Hosts Seminar to Explore Gambling Concerns in Fantasy Sports

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The C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) held a Discovery Dialogue on Monday, May 9 at the Main Hospital’s Learning Center.  Brendan Dwyer, Ph.D., director of research and distance learning for the VCU Center for Sport Leadership, led the presentation titled, “Exploring Gambling Concerns in Fantasy Sports Participation.”

Dwyer has studied fantasy sports behavior for nine years. One of the first individuals to research the subject back in 2007, he watched fantasy sports participation take off with the growth of the internet. 

It is estimated that in 2007, 19.4 million people in the United States and Canada were playing fantasy sports. That number grew to 56.8 million people in 2015 [source].  

“I like to think of fantasy sports as a competitive form of book club,” Dwyer said. “Some people take it seriously and read the books, others don’t, but just like in book clubs, people seek fantasy sports for social interaction, entertainment and escape.”

The concern, Dwyer notes, is that unlike in book clubs there is a financial aspect to fantasy sports that can lead to problem gambling, especially in daily fantasy sport games where there are multiple opportunities to play. In 2006, the United States Congress passed a legislation called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) which regulates online gambling, but an exemption for fantasy sports led by the National Football League (NFL) was established.

With the estimated total market impact of fantasy sports to be around $4.6 billion, the NFL has skin in the game tied to brand-building and increased sports consumption. In 2006 the NFL was able to successfully argue that fantasy sports was not a form of gambling because months can pass before any money is exchanged and fantasy sports involves more skill than chance. 

Today, because of the passing of the UIGEA, it is up to the individual states to make decisions regarding fantasy sports and whether they violate state gaming prohibitions.

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First image up top: Brendan Dwyer, Ph.D., director of research and distance learning for the VCU Center for Sport Leadership