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International Clinical Trials Day 2021

Celebrated on 20th May, International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD) marks the anniversary of the first clinical trial, conducted by James Lind in 1747, into the causes of scurvy on board the HMS Salisbury. ICTD provides an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts and achievements of all those involved in clinical research, and to raise awareness of its importance.

To celebrate ICTD 2021, Rosemary Nicholls, a Public Contributor working with the Research Design Service North East and North Cumbria, has written the following post on her experience of supporting researchers who are planning clinical trials. We are grateful to Rosemary for sharing her insight.

“Supporting researchers who are planning clinical trials is a very rewarding task for me as a Public Contributor working with the Research Design Service North East and North Cumbria. It enables me to use the knowledge and skills I gained as a student of Social Research Methods fifty years ago to further very worthwhile projects. I soon learnt that the team I work with have much to teach me, offering perspectives from a variety of backgrounds. They are also truly delightful people, a pleasure to meet and share ideas with.

The feedback that we receive from researchers is reassuringly positive; they show that they appreciate the insights that we offer. Sometimes we renew acquaintance later on and it’s very satisfying to see studies progress. For example, through VOICE, I am a member of a Reference Group for a research project. On our first Zoom meeting, the leader and I remembered we had met three years earlier when my colleagues at the RDS and I had considered his lay summary!

Researchers often seem impressed by the quality of the questioning of the Public Contributors working with the RDS NENC, and I’m confident that our input has a positive impact on the development of the clinical trials. The research is likely to be more successful if it has taken on board the perspectives of the public and patients, although we’re not medically qualified.

There is a genuineness and sincerity pervading the whole process that I’ve been involved with, that I would like to acknowledge. I believe that our thoughts are really welcomed and our efforts feel thoroughly appreciated. Applying to be a Public Contributor with the RDS NENC has been one of the best decisions of my retirement!”

Rosemary Nicholls, Public Contributor, Researcher Design Service North East and North Cumbria

May 2021