Europe open letter education

It's time for school children to learn about clinical research

We will all benefit from more knowledge!

To all European Ministers of Education; European Heads of Schools; European Teachers; and Parents
Re.: Introduction to clinical research as part of the school education for all European school pupils for three consecutive years around the ages of 14, 15, and 16 years

As a coalition of patient organisations, physicians, health researchers, and health journalists we are concerned that public general knowledge about clinical research is very sparse, and virtually absent about why independent randomised clinical trials are needed. Most people will encounter clinical research for the first time when they or relatives are invited to participate in randomised clinical trials or other types of clinical research. This invitation often follows devastating news of the diagnosis of a serious health problem.

We propose that steps should be taken to equip European citizens with information and understanding which will help them deal effectively with the challenges in such situations. We want patients and their relatives to become better equipped to withstand the blows of a serious diagnosis followed by an invitation to participate in clinical research designed to deal with uncertainties about the relative merits of alternative management strategies. We propose that all schools introduce as part of their curriculum, three 2-day education workshops on the theme of clinical research over three consecutive years.

Read the full-text of the letter and sign the petition