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Students Excel in Creating Educational Platforms for Pfizer

As part of the 2016-2017 Team Master’s Project (TMP), five Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) students created two engaging educational platforms for Pfizer that can be used during participant educational sessions and investigator training meetings leading up to a clinical trial.

The TMP is the capstone activity for students in the Master of Bioscience (MBS) and the Postdoctoral Professional Masters (PPM)degree programs. These projects provide students with the opportunity to apply their marketing, business, financial, and science training to state-of-the-art corporate challenges.

The presentation day on May 3 featured 29 participating teams. Professor of Practice Susan Bain served as the faculty advisor for the Pfizer team, which included Jamie Lam, Alex Martinez, Jai Paton, Long Tran, and Anna Zimmerman.

“I am proud to say these TMP students have truly achieved the sponsor’s goals for this project,” Bain said. “They brought this project in on time and under budget. They met every challenge presented to them, and overcame what sometimes seemed almost insurmountable obstacles. All was achieved working together, with a positive attitude and a little bit of fun along the way.”

The educational platform is meant to convey the importance of diversity in clinical trials as a key scientific aspect of research and provide researchers with various strategies to increase minority and educate potential participants about clinical trials.

“The work the students did was on point to the needs of Pfizer and our focus to educate diverse and representative populations about clinical trials,” said Ricardo Rojo, Global Lead for Clinical Trial Diversity at Pfizer. “The final deliverable exceeded our expectations both in terms of the depth of the content, and the quality of the final product. We were pleased with the knowledge, passion, and professionalism of the students and the corporate liaison.”

After conducting research on the way people learn, educational technologies, and diversity itself, the KGI Pfizer TMP team has developed a multi-faceted workshop, centered around a directed narrative, that will not only present crucial information, but will help in retention of that information through active learning and application.

“When we first met, we quickly noticed that we all came from different backgrounds,” said Lam, who served as the team leader. “Our diverse backgrounds and team synergy were the keys to our team’s success. It was our team’s varying strengths and perspectives that allowed us to challenge each other and grow together.”

In addition, the team has also created a platform for the purpose of educating potential participants. This platform is intended to inform patients of the potential benefits of participating in clinical trials, common procedures, and their rights as a participant. With more knowledge, potential participants feel better informed, are more likely to be interested in joining a study, and diversity in clinical trials has the opportunity to flourish.

At the end of April, the team presented their novel platform at Pfizer Headquarters, located in New York City. Their goal is that the workshop will impact Pfizer’s future clinical trials by facilitating the incorporation of minorities, leading to better, more applicable results. In the end, it is all about improving the quality of life of those in need.