International Clinical Trials Day 2019

The NIHR Moorfields Clinical Research Facility (CRF) celebrate International Clinical Trials Day 2019!

By Francesca Amalfitano: NIHR Moorfields CRF Research Operations Manager

Last month staff from our NIHR Moorfields Clinical Research Facility (CRF) travelled to sites across London to raise awareness of the world-leading research taking place here. The CRF is where cutting-edge eye research is tested as we mainly focus on early clinical trials. Our early-stage trials ensure that new treatments, surgical procedures and diagnostics are safe and effective. It is at the CRF that most research generated by clinicians and academics at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is tested for the first time.

Every year we celebrate International Clinical Trials Day on and around 20th May. It was on this day in 1747 that James Lind started what is often considered to be the first randomized clinical trial. . The day is marked around the world and is seen as the ideal time to celebrate the improvements and breakthroughs that clinical trials have made, and continue to make to healthcare. At our CRF we’ve have been marking International Clinical Trials Day now since 2013. For this year’s celebration we decided to try something a little different, instead of opening the doors of the CRF to the public we went out to a range of different clinics, all over London instead.

It was a huge team effort, as all of the CRF staff; Research & Design portfolio managers, administrators, technicians, orthoptists, optometrists and research nurses played a part in the day. We had two stalls at Moorfields Eye Hospital on City Road and two in the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre. We also travelled to Northwick Park, Ealing, St George’s, St Ann’s and to Mile End.

At the sites, as well as chatting to the friendly CRF staff about their work, visitors were provided with information about some of the CRF’s research projects and aims. Visitors also took part in a challenge to complete a game while wearing visual impairment spectacles. This enabled people to gain some insight into living with an eye condition. We also had an eye-themed crossword puzzle – which was pretty tricky!

The day was a great success and we managed to engage with around 240 people. Importantly, 100 percent of people who completed the feedback survey after speaking to the team, said it had increased their awareness of research. The majority of visitors had no idea about the research taking place at our CRF, but thanks to such a fantastic team effort, they do now. We had a very enjoyable and rewarding day and we’ll definitely be planning something for International Clinical trials day 2020!