by Amanda Conschafter, blog editor
The federal government’s 1990s “Share your life. Share your decision.” awareness campaign capitalized on endorsements from the likes of Michael Jordan to increase organ donor registrations nationwide. The federally-sponsored campaign also created a model for raising awareness about high-priority public health needs, explains a new white paper from the Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness—a model that could similarly improve clinical trials awareness.
Released at the coalition’s Capitol Hill conference on Wednesday, the paper is entitled “’Share your life. Share your decision.’ How the Campaign to Increase Organ Donations Provides a Model for Public Health Awareness Efforts.”
“Share your life. Share your decision.”
The National Coalition on Donation, now Donate Life America, launched the campaign in 1994 to raise public awareness of organ donation, encourage people to sign organ donor cards and spark conversations about organ donation among families. In 1997, the paper explains, the federal government joined the effort.
Over the next several years, Congress, HHS, the Coalition on Donation, and Ad Council used television, radio and print advertisements to increase public awareness. The federal government also teamed up with over a dozen private and volunteer organizations in addition to the Coalition on Donation and Ad Council to promote the campaign. The effort was a widespread success, the paper explains. Today nearly half of the U.S. population are registered as donors.
How the Model Applies to Clinical Trials
As the white paper notes, several parallels exist between the need for clinical trials participation and the need for organ donations, including the scope of impact, the initial levels of public participation and the benefit to society and public health. Currently, there is a severe shortage of clinical trial participants, which slows the process of approving medications and moving them to market for patients. One study reported that 11% of clinical trials fail to enroll even one participant.
Members of Congress, stakeholders, clinical trials professionals, health care providers and others joined CCTA’s conference to mark the release of the white paper. Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY) spoke on the value of clinical trials participation, while Capitol Hill chief of staff Art Estopinan offered personal insight on the experience and importance of clinical trial research. Panelists discussed current challenges and advances in clinical trials.