Patient Story: Mike, a Research Study Participant at Meridian

What led you to participate in a research study?

I was scrolling through my news feed one day and saw a sponsored advertisement for Meridian looking for participants interested in a COVID-19 vaccine trial. Being a healthcare worker who spends my day in a hospital, and with the amount of COVID patients we were caring for at the beginning of the pandemic, it immediately sparked my interest. I have two small kids at home, and spend a lot of my day working with physicians and helping care for patients. I wanted to do what I could to help mitigate any risk of possibly infecting my family, friends, or coworkers.

Is this your first experience with clinical research? What was the process like?

Yes, this is the first clinical  trial I have participated in. As a clinical pharmacist I’ve spent a large part of my career reading clinical trials, presenting them to colleagues, etc. I’ve also participated as a researcher. But I had never been on the participant side before. I honestly didn’t expect things to be as organized and efficient as they have been.

Having been on the research side of a study before it was very difficult at times to get things done on time, in an organized way. Adapting to changes along the way, needing to complete endless amounts of paperwork, it was time consuming and could often get pretty hectic. If that’s what the group at Meridian is going through, you’d never know it being a participant. I couldn’t be happier with my experience so far.

What was your experience with Meridian like?

I wasn’t familiar at all with Meridian prior to participating. The woman I spoke with on the phone was so enthusiastic and excited in my interest in participating. She went through a series of health-related questions to make sure I would qualify for the trial and could participate safely. She was so pleasant to speak to. She covered the ins and outs of the study, what I should expect with the process, a timeline, and answered questions I had. The call was informative and really left me feeling good about participating in the study. 

It’s clear that the providers working at the clinic try to make the experience for the patient as smooth as possible. Since the beginning they were very organized. They were proactive in scheduling appointments with me and really were flexible to finding a time that would work for me. They did a great job of getting me in on time and keeping me there only as long as I needed to be there. Each member of the team I saw in clinic knew their role and executed it well, which gave me confidence in the group.

Sometimes when you walk into an appointment and someone is uncertain with what they’re doing or the process is disorganized, it can give you pause to second guess moving forward. The group at Meridian works well together to make the patient feel comfortable and informed. They want you to continue in the study, and do their part to ensure you have a positive experience.

I’ve been part of this process for about 18 months now. The staff at Meridian has always made me feel welcome and kept me informed. Any time there is a change to the study process (which does happen in any trial as new information becomes available) they make sure I’m aware of it and am comfortable signing on to continue in the study.

What did participating in a research study mean for you?

Being part of this study means that I’m doing something to help benefit others. As a healthcare provider, that’s my job every day. But this is a different type of benefit that I’m providing. It’s not immediate, but I know my participation in this trial has changed the course of not only my life, but the lives of friends, family, and people around the world. It’s really pretty cool.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering participating in a clinical trial?

If you’re thinking about participating in a clinical trial but are on the fence, reach out to Meridian and talk to one of their team members. They are caring, knowledgeable, and personable, and will help answer any questions you might have. If you walk away from a conversation still having doubts, then I think you’d have your answer. Maybe it’s not the best time or best choice for you. But if you walk away feeling excited, or have a sense of wellbeing knowing that you’ll be doing something small that in the end means something really big, then definitely give it a shot.