Game on! UI challenges Northwestern to recruit research volunteers
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The University of Iowa and Northwestern University are gearing up for competition beyond athletics: The schools are vying to enroll the most participants in ResearchMatch, a federally funded initiative to create an on-line registry pairing volunteers with research studies.
The competition kicks off on Monday, Oct. 22 and concludes on Monday, Oct. 29, bracketing the weekend football game between the two schools at Northwestern.
—Gary Rosenthal, director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, which is leading the effort at the UI.
The UI and Northwestern are members of the Clinical and Translational Science Award Consortium. The volunteer-recruitment contest grew out of the schools’ desire to promote ResearchMatch and to educate the public about how easy it is to become participants in medical research. ResearchMatch will monitor the contest and announce the winning institution on Oct. 29.
Finding enough volunteers and the right participants for a study can be difficult. Some studies end early—before results can be determined—because of a lack of volunteers. ResearchMatch was created, in part, to highlight the importance of research and to better place those willing to participate in the studies that can benefit the most from their involvement.
“Only about 2 percent of U.S. citizens take part in clinical research trials each year and only 6 percent of people living with chronic illnesses participate,” says Gary Rosenthal, director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, which is leading the effort at the UI. “So trials end up being delayed or put on the shelf completely because people didn’t know about the opportunities.”
Laurie Lebo, program manager at ResearchMatch, said the UI-Northwestern competition helps raise awareness about the importance of medical research. “It’s a fun way to reach a lot of people and let them know that we need everyone—young and old, healthy and those with health conditions, players and fans, students and alumni—to get involved so we can find better treatments and cures for a variety of diseases,” she says.
Participation in medical research can range from filling out a quick survey to trying new treatments and devices like hearing aids. The choice to participate is always yours. If you do choose to participate, the appropriate researcher will contact you with further information.
To sign up for the competition, visit www.researchmatch.org/?rm=GoHawks.
ResearchMatch will send an email with information about potential studies.