If you notice a big bump in your participant accrual rates in the near future, you may want to thank Robin Roberts. Clinical trials participation, in general, and and participation by African American women, in particular, may have gotten a substantial boost this morning. Millions of fans watched as Ms. Roberts, the vivacious morning TV co-host returned to her post on Good Morning America just five months after undergoing a bone-marrow transplant for myelodysplastic syndrome. And millions of fans watched as she thanked her doctors for giving her the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial and asked her entire TV team (and the docs) to give a standing ovation to her Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) nursing team. This was clearly a very touching moment for everyone on the set. One of her physicians who appeared with her on the show sincerely thanked her for participating in the trial and said, “The standard treatments of today are developing because patients before you participated in clinical trials, and in a certain sense it’s our obligation as physicians and the patients of today to develop the standards of care for the patients of tomorrow.”
Highlighting the importance of clinical trial participants to medical progress - with such a huge audience, on her first morning back - was yet another heroic act by Ms. Roberts. This kind of truly heartfelt message can really have an impact. You could feel the closeness between Ms. Roberts and both of her teams. And you can be pretty certain sure that Ms. Roberts would want clinical trials professionals everywhere to take full advantage of her public endorsement of clinical research participation. What a great “poster woman" for clinical trials!