Less Accessibility, More Problems

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From Research Teams to Participants – Addressing Access Barriers is a Key to Progress

Accessibility is defined as the quality of being able to be reached or entered, obtained or used, easily understood or appreciated. Consider your journey from childhood to now. Do any barriers to access stand out in your memory? It could be something as central to life as accessing food in grocery stores via multiple modes of transportation or as unsuspectingly complex as navigating the financial aid process to ensure that you were able to complete higher education. 

In many of the same ways that access to healthcare remains a challenge for many populations, similar barriers exist for access to clinical research. Whether we’re focusing on physical, sociocultural, or psychological barriers to access clinical research participation opportunities or results from studies, we can’t talk about accessibility without identifying and understanding actual and perceived barriers inhibiting access (see recommended reading below). 

A search in PubMed.gov using the search term “accessibility” resulted in 624,210 results. Some of the topics focused on data accessibility, global access to medical procedures, and technological solutions to improve accessibility. A common thread centered special populations and challenges experienced with regard to their unique accessibility challenges. When we fail to consider diverse perspectives and experiences, we fail to achieve widespread accessibility. 

Consider how accessibility plays a role in your research program.

CTSA Program In Action Goals
Goal 1: Train and Cultivate the Translational Science Workforce