Greater Gift: Spreading Gratitude in Clinical Research
December 22, 2023 | Alec de la Durantaye |
As we all unwind for the holidays, we’re taking a break from the realm of prospecting in biopharma to highlight a group of folks who have woven the spirit of giving into the fabric of clinical research. Founded with a profound purpose – to elevate awareness, foster trust, and extend the gift of health to those in need – Greater Gift stands as a beacon of appreciation for unsung heroes of clinical trials.
At the core of their mission is a simple yet transformative idea – celebrate and express gratitude for everyone involved in the intricate tapestry of clinical research. I spoke with Greater Gift’s CEO, Joan Chambers, to get her view on their mission, motivations, and impact on clinical research.
What inspired the creation of Greater Gift, and how has the organization evolved since its
We believe that a “thank you” goes a long way to build trust and encourage more people from all walks of life to participate. In turn, we all benefit from the development of medicines, treatments, and medical devices that are effective for everyone.
Jennifer Byrne, a long-time clinical trial executive and founder of Greater Gift, watched thousands of clinical trial participants take part in clinical research. She observed that only a few volunteers truly understood the lasting impact of their participation. Especially where the drug development process can last for years or longer, volunteers may not appreciate just how critical they are. Then, Jennifer had an idea.
Could we reinforce the impact of a clinical trial participant by donating in their honor? The concept was simple: pay forward the impact of a volunteer’s role in a clinical trial with a donation to vulnerable children. One good deed delivers the gift of health for future generations.
Since 2010, Greater Gift has celebrated more than 160,000 clinical trial participants and through the celebration program and partnerships, Greater Gift has donated over 205,000 vaccines and over 68,000 meals to children in need through our collaboration with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Feeding America.
Greater Gift has evolved to celebrate and acknowledge not only clinical trial participants but to also recognize clinical research site team members and everyone involved in clinical research through corporate giving, HR programs, conferences, and events. Every person plays a vital role in clinical research to bring new treatments and therapies that can be offered and accessible by everyone in the world. By acknowledging the contributions of everyone and partnering with Greater Gift, we can pay forward the gift of health to children in need of vaccines and meals.
Can you share a specific success story or milestone that highlights the impact Greater Gift had on clinical research and the communities it serves?
With our Celebration & Gratitude Program, we are implementing ways to measure the impact of when someone receives a certificate saying, “Thank You” and that a donation was made in their honor to help a vulnerable child in need of a vaccine or meal.
I can share specific sentiments we received from different people as a testament to the impact of Greater Gift’s mission:
- “Being able to present participating patients and investigators with a donation in their honor provides instant reward and satisfaction knowing that they are making an impact right away, even though the trial in which they are participating may not see outcomes for some time. Greater Gift is a win-win all around -- it's a small token of our appreciation for those engaged in research and a way to pay it forward in the communities we serve.”
- “We are thrilled to celebrate and honor clinical trial volunteers and their families by doubling their impact and giving back to our community through donations to our local Tarrant County Food Bank,” said Tamara Nelson, Clinical Operations Director of NTXCT. “It is often years before trial volunteers see the impact of their participation. It is exciting to be able to provide them with tangible evidence of their contributions. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Greater Gift and will continue to support their mission to change the face of research by informing, advocating, and supporting our communities” said Jessica Anderson, Site Director of NTXCT. “
- “Collaborating with Greater Gift over the last 2 years has been a wonderful experience. They have enriched Parexel's Nurse Advisory panel, enabling us to show our immense gratitude for the Nurses' expertise in patient care and clinical trial conduct by donating in their names.”
- “Elligo is proud to partner with Greater Gift as their mission is the perfect extension of ours: they bring new treatments to underserved populations and we bring clinical trials to those same communities! Together, we're working towards a healthier, more equitable world.”
- “Thank you, greatly appreciated. I am truly honored and humbled to receive a Greater Gift Gratitude Certificate.”
How do you envision the future of clinical research, and what role do you hope to play in shaping that future?
I believe the future of clinical research has some exciting potential advancements for healthcare. I envision a more patient-centric approach, leveraging technology and AI for decentralized clinical trials, and real-world evidence. Additionally, I see the research site voice being brought back as equal contributors to the patient voice. Greater Gift plays a crucial role by fostering patient engagement, building stronger site relationships, and promoting altruism.
As we move forward into 2024, I envision Greater Gift expanding our industry partnerships to contribute to innovative initiatives to acknowledge everyone’s contributions to clinical research, increase inclusivity in research, and ensure that the benefits of breakthrough treatments and therapies are accessible to diverse populations globally.
Individuals and businesses can contribute to Greater Gift’s mission by donating—one-time, monthly, quarterly, or annually—on this page.
Businesses can also partner with Greater Gift on specific programs to acknowledge, celebrate, and express gratitude to everyone involved in clinical research through our Celebration & Gratitude program. We partner with organizations in Clinical Operations, Corporate Giving & and HR Initiatives, and Conferences and events. Through different programs, the gift of health is paid forward to help children in need. https://www.greatergift.org/
The kind of support that is most impactful depends on the organization’s goals, but in my opinion, partnering with Greater Gift to acknowledge and say thank you to a person with a donation being made in their honor to help a child in need is incredibly impactful. Organizations can easily integrate the Greater Gift’s Celebration & Gratitude program throughout the year to show appreciation on any type of occasion, event, or activity.
Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects that Greater Gift is particularly excited about, and how can people get involved?
One initiative especially exciting is Greater Gift is working with a pharmaceutical organization that sponsored holiday cards and “Thank You” posters for their US and ROW research sites to express gratitude for their dedication and work on a specific clinical trial. This was an incredibly meaningful project to recognize the site staff and have a donation made in their honor to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, and Feeding America to help vulnerable children. In early Q1-2024, Greater Gift will continue to work with this pharma organization to celebrate and thank all the clinical trial participants involved in the ongoing clinical trial.
Can you share a memorable experience or interaction with someone who has directly benefitted from the work of Greater Gift?
I was invited to participate in a panel discussion at the Pharmaceutical Business Conference Group (PBC Group) Clinical Outsourcing Group New England event held in April 2023 by David Jones and the PBC Group team. I sent a digital Greater Gift “Thank You” certificate to David expressing my gratitude for this invitation to attend and participate in the event. David took a picture of the certificate and published it on LinkedIn with an expression of gratitude and a nice surprise to receive with a donation going to a child in need of a vaccine through Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance. This is one personal example that meant a lot to me.
Funny enough, COG New England was where Joan and I first crossed paths, shortly after her (wonderful) panel discussion. It was clear that Greater Gift’s mission resonated with everyone present at PBC Group’s event that week, and we’re grateful to be able to help amplify their message during the holiday season and beyond.
We encourage you to check out www.greatergift.org if you’d like to make a contribution or to learn more about the Greater Gift. Thank you to Joan and the entire team for all the selfless work you do, the entire clinical research space is better for it!
For specific inquiries, you can reach Joan via email at email@example.com