OneFlorida Citizen Scientist Training Curriculum to be Presented at Two National Conferences this Fall

OneFlorida researchers will share their innovative Citizen Scientist teaching curriculum at two prestigious conferences this fall. Janet Brishke, MPH, research coordinator III at the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium, will present at the 27th Annual Conference of the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA), and the 2018 Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Annual Meeting. Brishke also presented the curriculum at the Practice-based Research Network Conference in June in Bethesda, Maryland.

The theme of this year’s SOCRA conference, which will take place in New Orleans from Sept. 27-30, is “Laying the Foundation for Clinical Research Excellence.” The theme of this year’s PCORI meeting, which will take place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C., is “From Evidence to Impact: Putting What Works into Action.”

“At OneFlorida, we are always looking for ways to speed the implementation of evidence-based best practices into clinical practice,” said Brishke. “But we know that sometimes we have trouble understanding the needs of the patient population and communicating with the end users of our healthcare systems. That’s where the Citizen Scientist Program comes in.”

At each conference, Brishke provides presentations describing the creation of the curriculum, the need for the curriculum, and the educational theories and practices used by the curriculum’s design team. These presentations will give conference participants the opportunity to learn from OneFlorida’s experiences, and adapt the curriculum content to meet the unique needs of their institutions, saving both time and money.

The Citizen Scientist Program, administered jointly by the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium, helps to bridge the gap between scientists and community members. Citizen Scientists work closely with researchers, offering lay perspectives on everything from proposal reviews to patient recruitment strategies. The members of the OneFlorida Citizen Scientist team represent a wide age range and a variety of cultural, ethnic, and gender perspectives.

Though Citizen Scientists have long been engaged in fields like astronomy and meteorology, this is a relatively new approach for clinical research. OneFlorida researchers realized their Citizen Scientists needed help to grasp the complex process of conducting research. In turn, understanding how research works can help Citizen Scientists recognize the impact of their contribution to these projects.

OneFlorida’s research team worked with subject matter experts and Citizen Scientists alike to create informative lessons in an online, self-paced curriculum, and to cover everything from research ethics to big data to cultural competency. Pilot testing and implementation demonstrated that the Citizen Scientist curriculum is an effective, well-received approach to educating community members in aspects of clinical research.

The UF CTSI Citizen Scientist Program is one of many ways in which UF researchers have begun moving toward a model of patient-centered research. By engaging community members throughout the research process, scientists hope to ensure that clinical trials address questions that are important to the public, and that patients enrolled in the studies reflect the diversity of real communities. To learn more about the UF CTSI Citizen Scientist Program, visit the UF CTSI website (

Members of the design team include: Janet Brishke, MPH, research coordinator III at the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium; Christy Evans, a UF citizen scientist; Albert Dieter Ritzhaupt, Ph.D., PMP, associate professor of educational technology in UF’s College of Education; Eileen Handberg, Ph.D., ARNP, associate professor in the Department of Cardiology; Natercia Valle, a graduate assistant in curriculum development and instructional design in UF’s College of Education; Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics, director of UF’s Institute for Child Health Policy, co-chair of the UF CTSI and director of the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium; and David Nelson, M.D., director of the UF CTSI, assistant vice president for research and associate dean of the College of Medicine.

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