Over the past 20 years I have had the privilege to have been able to undertake a number of large scale community based clinical trials focussing on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and healthy aging. We call these “Public Good” Trials as they are often not going to be the topic of major commercial interest to companies but are of immense interest to practising doctors wanting to know what strategies or treatments will give the best results. These trials have involved more than 30,000 volunteer participants from virtually all States of Australia. Each and every one of them makes a major contribution to our understanding of how best to prevent, treat and manage chronic diseases. Given our ageing society, both here in Australia and in all parts of the world, these questions are important not only to the trial participants but to their children and grandchildren.
What has never ceased to inspire me is the willingness of our participants to keep to the required treatments, answer our ongoing questionnaires and volunteer for additional study related activities when asked. These studies can often go for between 5-10 years so our trial staff often have the opportunity to get to know our participants and share the ups and downs of life. Altruism, a sense of giving back to society and a willingness to contribute are all hall marks of many of our participants. We couldn’t do our work without them and we hope that being involved in one of our trials brings a certain sense of satisfaction.