Scientists rely on the public to participate in clinical trials to help them measure the safety and efficacy of new vaccines.

Many Oregon Health and Science University clinical trials, research that tests medical treatments and their effectiveness on human health, have been focused at bringing participants to OHSU.

Now OHSU researchers are trying to find innovative ways to bring clinical research to local communities and include a more diverse participant population and connect to the community.

OHSU believes research participant populations should be representative of the general population. But many people face barriers to being included, such as financial, cultural, and language barriers, as well as finding transportation or understanding how to be involved, researchers said.

“We have to meet people where they are at,” said Eneida Nemecek, medical director for clinical research at OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute.

Eneida Nemecek is medical director for clinical research at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Nemecek said OHSU community research liaisons are located in eight regions of Oregon to meet with people and develop advisory boards to learn what the needs of communities are.

“OHSU is really invested in this spectrum of how we build up these communities and listen to them,” said Melinda Davis, co-director of community and collaboration at Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute.

Davis, who also serves as interim director of Oregon Rural Practice-Based Research Network, said bringing the research into local clinics, for example, is one way researchers can reach more people and gain trust from communities.

Melinda Davis, co-director of community and collaboration at Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute at OHSU.

Many people also may face language barriers in signing up for and completing steps of a study when trying to participate in research.

Translation services are available for many languages through OHSU phone lines. Most clinical trials at OHSU provide some, if not all, of their materials in Spanish, and many clinical trials are working to reach Latino populations in Oregon, too.

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