Patient Engagement and Shared Hospitality

Did you know that the pineapple is considered a sign of hospitality?

Hundreds of years ago, pineapples were prized fruits because they were rare and exotic and delicious. People who wanted to offer the very best to guests visiting their home would go to great lengths to secure the elusive pineapple as the crowning centerpiece at their dining table. Eventually, the fruit came to symbolize welcoming generosity.

Today marks exactly one month since International Clinical Trials Day, and given the many wonderful opportunities we experienced in May to engage with patients, it felt like everyone had a pineapple as the sign of welcome hanging on their door. We took Erin Moore’s Tweet to heart and found several wonderful opportunities throughout the month to join patients at their table—rather than just inviting them to ours.

We joined together with many people in the clinical trial community—patients, caregivers, advocacy groups, and research personnel—through tweet chats and conferences:

  • #CTAW2016: Clinical Trials Awareness Week, held the first week of May
  • #WhyWeDoResearch: An ongoing awareness campaign on the importance of clinical research which hosted a week-long global tweet fest leading up to International Clinical Trials Day on May 20th
  • #Cinderblocks3: A patient-driven conference held in rural Grantsville, Maryland


And what a conversation we had around our shared table! You gave us so many good insights.

At Cinderblocks, we saw how the health care concerns in rural America are a microcosm of issues seen around the world: the need for healthy mental development of kids, the overwhelming impact of illegal drug addiction, and the power of our shared stories to motivate us.

In the tweet chats, you reminded us of the vital role of clinical trial volunteers and how important it is to say thank you.

You told us to get patient input into study design.

And you said people want to see the results of their participation in research.

You gave us some very practical advice on how to make clinical trials better, more accessible.

You told us how important it is to continue the conversation, particularly using social media.

And, in the most hospitable way possible, you validated us at your table.

Thank you for your hospitality. We were humbled and grateful to join you at your table. And we had lots of fun, too! We look forward to hearing more from you—day-to-day and in the next tweet chat or at the next conference. When we meet again, perhaps we can share a bite of pineapple.

Drop us a line in the comments below or @LillyTrials on Twitter.