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Celebrating BioPharma’s Participant Appreciation Day

Person with open arms in front of a "Thank You" sign made of balloons

What is International Clinical Trials Day?

Every year on May 20th, the global healthcare community comes together to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day. This day commemorates the day when James Lind started his famous first randomized clinical trial on scurvy in the mid 1700’s. This significant occasion recognizes the crucial role that clinical trials play in advancing medical research, improving patient care, and driving scientific innovation.

On this day, we honor the dedication of researchers, healthcare professionals, and volunteers who participate in clinical trials, paving the way for groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in healthcare.

Why is International Clinical Trials Day important to us?

Clinical trials are essential to medical research, they provide scientific material for evaluating new treatments and therapies. Also, they allow researchers to investigate the safety, efficacy and side effects of new drugs, vaccines, and treatment approaches. Through testing and analysis, clinical trials generate critical data that inform healthcare decisions, guidelines, and improve patient outcomes.

That’s why International Clinical Trials Day is important to not only emphasize the significance of medical research, but also to highlight the importance of global collaboration. BPSI acknowledges the relevance of cooperation in research as our site in St. Louis Missouri plays a critical role in addressing changes; we can leverage diverse perspectives, resources, and expertise to accelerate the pace of medical advancements and find solutions to complex diseases and conditions.

At BPSI, we have a commitment to conducting trials in an ethical and responsible manner, ensuring that the potential benefits of research outweigh any potential risks. These safeguards are crucial in maintaining public trust and confidence in clinical research.

Chairs organized in the clinic

The First BPSI Volunteer Appreciation Day

In this inaugural Volunteer Appreciation Day organized by BPSI , we celebrated the active role that participants play in medical research. Their contribution and commitment are both vital to advance treatments, their feedback is also vital to ensure the clinical trial journey is equally enjoyable for newer participants who have never done studies.

On May 25th, BPSI hosted a celebration at our very own 4000 Weston Rd Clinic to honor study participants. We ensured this day would be filled with engaging activities, entertainment, good food, and great company! No one can throw a party like a BPSI party!

Here at BSPI we consider study participants as medical heroes, hence why we found this to be the most fitting theme for our Participant Appreciation Day.

My mentor once told me about an example of the impact of Study participation. When you donate a kidney, you save ONE life. When you donate blood, you save a FEW lives. When you participate in clinical trials, you’re saving MILLIONS of lives!


-Meghana Sunny, Sr. Manager, Recruitment and Retention at BPSI.

The Preparation and the Event

In preparation for the event, the staff at BPSI came together to complete various tasks. They dedicated their time to decorating the venue, inflating more than a hundred balloons, and devising interesting questions for the “mix-and-mingle” game. The team collaborated to assemble delightful goodie bags and take pride in producing custom T-shirts with the slogan “Do a study, save a buddy,” which was chosen as the winning entry in an internal competition organized by our recruiters.

Jars with papers inside, containing light-hearted topics to be discussed between volunteers

Due to the limited capacity in our clinic, we were only able to invite a small handful of veteran participants. As they arrived, we adorned them with a study wrist band with a number assigned – this was a play on their routine participation but also served for the raffle – everyone who came was assigned a number that was entered into a raffle.

Our heroes were invited to help themselves at the food station then ushered into the main event space which was the setting for our mix and mingle.

The Mix and Mingle

Once the event formally started, we split out into random groups of three to four people. Each group had a mason jar with questions that varied from lighthearted inquiries such as sharing fun facts or describing one’s personality to more profound inquiries related to their participation, such as whether they discuss their decision to participate with their family or friends. This format allowed for diverse and balanced conversation and a friendly atmosphere.

Every 15 mins they would hear the word “Switch!”, and everyone had to find another random group of three or four people. After about an hour of this activity, we could see how this resulted in pure chemistry among our volunteers! This led to thrilling statements like:

One individual nostalgically exclaimed, “We did the same study together six years ago, and it’s incredible to see each other again for the first time!”. Another participant jokingly said: “I managed to make a new best friend within just 15 minutes!”.

We also had “Study buddy contact cards” so they could exchange contact information as they mingled.

Guest Speakers

We then turned to our entertainment and speakers’ segment of the event. We had a beautiful Opera singing performance by one of our very own participants! She captivated the audience with her soprano voice and the story told through her performance was majestic! Awestruck, wide-eyed participants with visible goose bumps stood up for loud applause as she concluded her performance.

Second up, we had one of our veteran volunteers speak about his experience in previous studies at other CROs as well as ours. What seemed like an excerpt from Comedy Central, his jokes about peculiar situations participating in studies in 2016, to the number of studies completed at different CROs, to what makes BPSI different left the audience slapping their knees in laughter. The staff, along with the participants, couldn’t help but wonder if he had a background in stand-up comedy – which we confirmed later he doesn’t.

More Games

After all the laughter subsided, we started our Games and prizes portion of the event.

If you’ve ever watched the late-night Jimmy Fallon show, you might be familiar with the entertaining “Can You Feel It?” game. Inspired by this, we decided to incorporate a BPSI clinical trial theme into the game.

A cardboard box with two hand-sized holes was placed in the center of the stage, creating a sense of curiosity among our participants. Items were placed into the box and our volunteers had to stick their hand in and guess the item without looking, they had the option of getting hints from the audience as well.

By far one of the most punishing items placed in the box was a melted Snickers bar (and slime took second place) – and of course we had staff on standby with paper towels for their hands!

Two people having fun participating in the cardbox game

Finishing with a Raffle

The excitement carried over into our final event segment – the Raffle draws! After all, who doesn’t love winning? We made sure to remind the audience that upon entering, they received a wristband with a unique number written on it, and each number was entered into the raffle. Anticipation filled the air as we drew three numbers, and each lucky winner was rewarded with a $50 Visa gift card, bringing smiles to their faces.

We concluded our event with loud, upbeat music as we allowed our guests to grab a goodie bag as they left the event.

Clinical recruiter holds two goodie-bags while smiling at the camera

Many stayed back to mingle, laugh, provide feedback and took photos by our giant THANK YOU Balloon arch and photo wall beautifully encapsulating the spirit of the occasion, emphasizing our heartfelt gratitude.

The participants expressed overwhelming gratitude for the event, wholeheartedly appreciating the sense of belonging and the feeling of being part of something significant. In a heartwarming gesture, one of the participants went the extra mile and brought a cake to demonstrate appreciation.

“Being part of clinical research can sometimes be lonely, you may not feel like everyone does it, you may not feel like everyone gets it, but this is by far one of the best experiences I’ve ever had”.

“Do you know that you guys are the first CRO to ever do something like this?” a participant said, highlighting the uniqueness of the event.

Another participant finally inquired, “Are you guys going to make this an annual thing?”, making us seriously consider turning it into a cherished and anticipated annual tradition.

The thought of creating more opportunities for connection, joy, and meaningful experiences fills us with hope and excitement for the future. After all, this is what BioPharma means to us.

Clinical Trial recruiters in front of a "Thank you" sign

Written by Meghana Sunny, Senior Manager, Recruitment and Retention at BioPharma Services.

BioPharma Services, Inc., a Think Research Corporation and clinical trial services company, is a full-service Contract Clinical Research Organization (CRO) based in Toronto, Canada, specializing in Phase 1 clinical trials 1/2a and Bioequivalence clinical trials for international pharmaceutical companies worldwide. BioPharma has clinical facilities both in the USA and Canada with access to healthy volunteers and special populations.

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