Spotlight on Atypical Diabetes:
Berrie Center Research Coordinator Presents at National NIH Steering Committee Meeting
Research coordinator Kaisha Mofford was recently invited to give a talk at the Steering Committee meeting of the NIH Rare and Atypical Diabetes Network (RADIANT) in Tampa, Florida. The Berrie Center/Columbia University is one of the clinical centers who are part of the RADIANT Network. Mofford joined the Berrie Center team in August 2022 and spoke about the Berrie Center’s clinical study recruitment approaches and strategies, particularly those that are directed at underserved minority populations.
RADIANT aims to discover and define rare and atypical forms of diabetes. These refined diagnoses will be used by diabetes researchers, physicians, and patients to accurately explain their disease. RADIANT is a network of universities, hospitals and clinics across the United States dedicated to better understanding atypical diabetes. The RADIANT team at the Berrie Center includes principal investigators Drs. Rudy Leibel and Robin Goland and study coordinators Mofford, Anabel Evans and James Pring.
The Berrie Center recently received one of four pilot awards from RADIANT focusing on improving recruitment, with an aim to enhance recruitment of participants from underserved minority populations. This award was made, in part, in recognition for the team’s success in increasing RADIANT enrollment.
“Study recruitment takes a lot of creativity and persistence,” says Mofford. Mofford attributed the rise in participation to a combination of referrals from Berrie Center doctors and clinical staff, internal advertising, database queries and social media efforts.
“We make ourselves known to doctors at the Berrie Center,” Mofford said. “When the doctors identify a patient who they think might be appropriate for RADIANT, we are very prompt in responding to them and the potential participants. We like to be efficient and thorough at the same time.”
To make the recruitment process as easy as possible, the team created a “research navigation role”. The job of the research navigator is to keep in constant connection with the participants and help them through the process from registering to consenting to any necessary blood tests.
“When we have someone who wants to sign up, we will have a Zoom and/or an in-person meeting to help them complete the process, including the informed consent, walk them through the logistics and the questions that might be a bit confusing to them,” Mofford said. “We explain it all.”
The Berrie Center always goes above and beyond for patients, and that philosophy holds true for study participants, she explained.
Mofford also talked about social media efforts as a tool for recruitment. “We create graphics and connect with the diabetes community on social media,” she said. So far, they have registered one participant through social media.
“In general, the people we reach out to are eager to learn about RADIANT,” she concluded. “These are people who have never been able to get answers about why their diabetes is “different.” When we tell them about a study looking at atypical diabetes, people are excited!”