I began serving on my local Community Advisory Board for the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) site at The Ohio State University a couple of years ago. This gave me a greater understanding of the HIV research process. I learned to review protocols, lay summaries and consent forms for HIV studies. Not long ago, I joined the Community Scientific Subcommittee (which is a subcommittee of the ACTG), as I wanted a deeper understanding of the study development. I’m now involved in studies from the beginning and have a new appreciation for the research process.
I recently attended the annual ACTG meeting in Washington, DC. The conference included staff from the study sites, researchers, physicians, as well as community members.
My favorite part of this conference was hearing about studies which were just beginning. I was able to brainstorm with physicians and other community members about how to improve a study and address any concerns that may come up. That was exciting!
Another interesting part of this conference was talking about ongoing studies or recently completed studies. Again, the study teams want community input. They ask questions, they listen and they welcome comments. I'm truly enjoying this research process!