Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) has won a national Silver Leaf Award of Excellence for Internal Communication. The International Association of Business Communicators Canada (IABC) award is in recognition of our health research awareness campaign and forms part of Canada’s premiere professional awards program celebrating excellence in business communication.
Our mandate at VCHRI is to foster innovative health research by supporting our researchers and their clinical trials and research studies. To achieve this objective, we maintain an open dialogue with our research community and we learned that achieving recruitment targets was one of their biggest challenges.
In response to the need expressed by our researchers, we worked with our researchers, coordinators, staff and trainees to design and develop a research awareness campaign to help raise the profile of study participation opportunities in Vancouver and make it easier for potential participants to connect with our research teams. We also created and launched an online research study directory—the first of its kind in BC—to showcase research opportunities in an easily searchable and user-friendly way. Finally, we shared the stories of research participants through our patient newsletter to illustrate the significance and benefits of research participation.
We are ‘in it together’
The recruitment platform and outreach campaign received an overwhelmingly positive response from our research community and members of the public. As of this October, we have already registered over 360 studies on the recruitment platform. Online traffic to the study directory, where potential participants can search for research opportunities by topic and easily find out how to enrol, increased by 213 per cent. Our Twitter campaign generated over 1,800 tweets, retweets and @ tweets, reaching over 359,000 people.
"Participation in research leads to the discovery of new medication and treatments that affect millions of Canadians each year, making it critical that health research be heard, understood and appreciated," says Vivian Sum, communications manager at VCHRI.
Thanks to the support of our researchers, coordinators, staff, research participants and everyone involved in our recruitment platform and outreach campaign, we are successfully raising the profile of health research in Vancouver and enhancing and expanding clinical trial recruitment services. We would not have been able to achieve this award-winning accomplishment without the support of our research community and the public, and we look forward to continuing to innovate and engage with them for future campaigns.