Momentum to Define the Role of Advocacy Groups in Research is Growing – But Why?

From where we are sitting, we have a really fortunate vantage point to observe the continued growth of the role of Advocacy groups in clinical research. To us, the past 12 months have been quite exciting in this regard. We’ve seen more and more Pharma partners find new and impactful ways to collaborate with Advocacy, for various positive patient outcomes. These areas of collaboration include:

  • Understanding where research can best change the face of care and treatment – what are the areas of patient need?
  • Designing research that a patient can participate in, in ways that doesn’t add burden to their daily life, and day-to-day struggle with their condition 
  • Learning how to meet patients where they are to talk about clinical trial options
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) progress

On DEI specifically, we’ve seen more and more Pharma leaders increase investment in working with Advocacy to understand where the DEI gaps really are. Although this will be a forever journey of learning and improving, the investment we’ve seen here in the past 12 months alone has certainly increased. Advocacy is being recognized as a key piece to the natural question-  what steps does clinical research need to take to really close these DEI gaps? We’ll be diving into this a little more on a blog next week. 

So what sped up the recognition of the role of Advocacy in the past couple of years especially? There’s no easy answer, but we know the formula includes:

  • COVID-19: perhaps the most tangible answer. As the world navigated a new condition, listening to patient experiences in real-time painted the picture that led researchers to understand the virus, and how to combat it. We had to understand the immediate and long-term effects, and develop innovative solutions to slow the spread as quickly as possible. Advocacy groups were critical to this effort which shed light on how important they really are in driving research overall. 
  • The realization that new ideas and approaches were needed to take us forward from the traditional research and recruitment methods. This has certainly filtered through the space more and more.
  • DEI has become a focus in health and clinical research generally, and the understanding that Advocacy groups are the experts in the experiences of these diverse patient communities has led to increased opportunities for collaboration.

The ever-growing investment in advocacy doesn’t appear to be slowing down, and research is certainly seeing the benefits. Which at the end of the day, means better patient care and more options for patients. 

Our next couple of blogs will look at where we expect the clinical research-advocacy relationship to go in 2023, including the ways in which advocacy can help drive the right steps forward for Diversity Equity, and Inclusion changes in the research space.

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