It turns out that donating your time to science isn’t the ego booster we thought it was. There aren’t a lot of thanks out there. A recent national survey of 900 adults found that while 84 percent of the public greatly admire organ donors and 68 percent greatly admire blood donors, a paltry 33 percent greatly admire people who participate in clinical trials.
The survey was done in December 2006 by the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) and the polling firm Opinion Dynamics Corporation (ODC). According to a January 2007 article in the CISCRP’s newsletter The Participant, the survey was the first to measure public recognition of the role that clinical research participants play in advancing medical science.
The CISCRP-ODC poll also found that:
- 40 percent of the public believe that organ donors make the greatest contribution to mankind
- 29 percent believe that a person who gives blood makes the greatest contribution to mankind
- 10 percent believe that people who raise money for charity make the greatest contribution to mankind
- Only 9 percent believe that clinical trial volunteers make the greatest contribution to mankind.
Oddly, ninety-four percent of the public recognizes that participation in clinical research is important to advancing medical science. Despite that recognition, most of them fail to greatly admire the volunteers. The CISCRP has called for increased public education about the importance of clinical research volunteers, noting that recruitment is challenging and that most clinical trials are delayed due to the difficulty of finding participants. The fewer volunteers there are, the longer it takes to get new drugs and treatments approved.
What YOU Can Do
Those of us touched by diabetes know that clinical trials are important. Most diabetes clinical trials involve insulin or drugs: new insulin analogs for people with type 1 diabetes and new medications, oral or injected, for type 2s. It’s National Diabetes Month, so why not volunteer for a clinical trial?
At least your mom might thank you.