International Clinical Trials Day – May 20

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Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world on or near May 20th each year in order to commemorate the day that a Scottish naval surgeon, James Lind, conducted what is often considered the first randomized clinical trial aboard a ship on May 20th, 1747. This year, Clinical Trials Day will be celebrated on Friday, May 19, 2017. In 1747, surgeon mate James Lind administered six different methods to attempt to heal sailors that were diagnosed with scurvy, with one of the methods involving oranges and lemons. This method healed the sailors, becoming a breakthrough for an intervention of scurvy, but more importantly demonstrating the potential power of a clinical trial.

The objective of Clinical Trials Day is not only to celebrate James Lind’s study but also to improve public health awareness on the various challenges confronted by scientists and other professionals when conducting clinical trials, as well as celebrate the patients and professionals that make clinical research possible. Meetings, activities and other social events in honor of Clinical Trials Day aim to increase engagement among the public and clinical health professionals alike.

Events Happening Around the World on May 19:

  • The Association of Clinical Research Professionals is providing printable posters and encouraging social media posts using #clinicalresearchers to spread awareness. You can also follow #clinicaltrialsday to see tagged posts on Twitter and tweet your support!
  • European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network’s (ECRIN) 2017 celebration of International Clinical Trials Day will take place in Lisbon, Portugal. The theme of their event this year is related to data sharing and reuse, focusing on engaging with the public, scientific community and decision makers on issues related to clinical trials in Europe and internationally.
  • At The University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, interactive talks and discussions will be held by a group of researchers to inform the public on emergency care and mental health research. To better engage the public, a tour of the research facility at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital will be offered, as well as a chance to interact with some of the tests used in clinical trials.
  • To celebrate the patients and volunteers that have participated in clinical trials,  Malaysia hosted an event to honor Clinical Trials Day (on May 16) at the National Cancer Institute in Putrajaya. The event included the “I Am Aware” campaign to educate the public about the importance of clinical trials, promote the understanding of the benefits and risks of participation, and to provide resources to help individuals make informed decisions about research involvement.

These are just a few of the events that take place internationally to raise awareness and recognize improvements to public health because of clinical research.  Clinical Trials Day is just one way to bring more attention to clinical trials and their contributions to the medical field.

Clinical Trials Day follows the recent Clinical Trials Awareness Week which took place May 1-7, 2017. Clinical Trials Awareness Week is another event observed annually in May that is comprised of health care providers, patient advocates, medical researchers and industry and government stakeholders working together for one common goal – to increase public awareness about the importance of clinical trials participation.

What are some ways that you can become involved in a local event to help increase awareness both for yourself and your community?

Many organizations will host their own events to celebrate – let us know how you plan to celebrate Clinical Trials Day!

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