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Trial and Triumph: Making a Difference through Clinical Trial Recruitment

While on my Community Pharmacy APPE rotation at Weis Markets I, Madison Keller, was given the opportunity to lead recruitment for a clinical trial under the supervision of my preceptor, Nicole Pezzino. When I heard about this opportunity, I was excited because we learned about this in school, but I never imagined this being an opportunity in the community setting!

The trial focused on a medication that would be used as adjunctive therapy for patients with a specific disease state. My role in the recruitment phase included chart reviews and patient interviews. During the chart review phase, I was able to review and determine if 100 patients were eligible to participate in the next steps of the clinical trial through using the dispensing software to assess their medications and health history. Having the opportunity to assess a medication profile to determine eligibility was a unique experience as I never thought that this is an opportunity available to a community pharmacist or student.

If a patient was eligible for the next step, we would contact the patient for an interview to further confirm eligibility based on specified criteria. After my first call, I realized the opportunity we have in the community setting to capitalize on the relationship we have with our patients to streamline the approach. I pivoted to utilize an approach similar to what we already do during a medication targeted intervention. Before even discussing the trial, I would ask the patient questions about their medications such as, “How has it been working for you?” and “What are you taking this medication for?” These questions allowed me to form relationships with the patients. They were much more responsive and inquisitive about the clinical trial than just

starting with it right off the bat. I also found that some of the patients were taking a medication that would qualify them for the clinical trial however they were taking it for another, potentially off-label or other indication, and therefore would have no interest in the study and would not have been included. Of the 100 chart reviews, I was able to conduct over 40 interviews, check in with them, and determine if they were a candidate to be enrolled in the study.

This experience was not something that I thought I would ever be a part of in my pharmacy career, let alone while in pharmacy school or while on a community rotation. The clinical trial recruitment is still ongoing at Weis as we were selected to receive more patients based on the progress made so far. It goes to show the impact a Community Pharmacist can make beyond their local area. Community pharmacists have relationships with their patients and patients frequent their pharmacy on a regular basis. This trial could change the lives of many of those with the specified disease state, and to say I have had a part in that is surreal.

Written by:

Madison Keller

Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy | PharmD Candidate 2023

Sidhu School of Business and Leadership | MBA Candidate 2023


Nicole Pezzino, PharmD, BCACP, CDCES

Clinical Pharmacist

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