Australia is home to world-class health and medical researchers who have been responsible for many life-changing breakthroughs that have benefited both the Australian and international community.
The ability to conduct this research depends on being able to recruit enough people into studies, a process that can take months and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete. Many studies fall over at this hurdle because they just don't get enough people to participate.
It’s not that people don’t want to – in fact there’s data to show that if you asked the community if they’d be willing to be involved in research that was relevant to them, about two-thirds would say yes. But, in practice, only about one per cent will ever be involved in a clinical trial.
That’s why The George Institute, in partnership with the University of New South Wales, has launched a register called ‘Join Us’ (www.joinus.org.au), which aims to recruit a million Australians who agree to be contacted if there is a study that might be appropriate for them.
‘Join Us’ is an online, non-profit medical research register designed to improve access to research trials across the country, providing more rural, regional and remote Australians the opportunity to represent their communities in health research. The ‘Join Us’ register has partnered with more than 50 leaders from research, health care and consumer advocacy organisations across the country, such as the Doherty Institute, the CSIRO, Australian National University, the Stroke Foundation and even the Country Women’s Association of NSW.
The success of ‘Join Us’ will depend on it being able to support research that addresses many different aspects of health across a broad range of the Australian community. It requires representation from every state and territory, equal enrolment of women and men, and the participation of older and younger adults across all socioeconomic levels in both urban and rural areas. That’s why we need you! Representing rural, regional and remote communities in medical research is crucial to improving both community and individual health care.
Studies currently recruiting include the Kirby Institute’s ‘Breathe’ study, which investigates the effectiveness of surgical masks for asthma and lung disease sufferers during bushfire season – an issue that is of particular concern for regional and rural Australians.
The goal of ‘Join Us’ is to achieve better health and wellbeing for all Australians by more rapidly advancing the understanding of health and medicine and making these advances available to the community.
To find out more about how you can make a contribution to the health of the larger Australian community, or access clinical trials investigating new treatments for conditions that may be relevant to you or your family, visit www.joinus.org.au.