Clinical trials are expensive, which drives up the price of drugs and limits the number of new treatments that can be developed. Current trial methods are also inconvenient for participating patients. Researchers at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) believe that conducting trials from home, via a secure system, could lower this cost and make participation in clinical trials easier for patients.
“Because of concerns about patient privacy, nearly all clinical trials require patients to come in and meet with researchers face-to-face for follow-up assessments,” says Hal Luft, Ph.D., director of PAMF’s Research Institute and Caldwell B. Esselstyn, professor emeritus of health economics and health policy at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
“Regular email is not secure enough to replace these in-person appointments, which are costly and often inconvenient for study participants. However, a secure electronic messaging and data collection system—such as the one PAMF uses to communicate with its patients—is safe, private and may work for some research studies,” Dr. Luft says. Investigators at UCSF and Mytrus, a firm that conducts clinical trials, are studying this new approach to undertaking trials. The PAMF Research Institute is testing whether patients volunteering for this trial are representative of all patients with the problem. Read More about PAMF Announces Opportunity to Participate in Novel Study
With our country’s aging population and the continued rise in chronic diseases, ensuring there are enough doctors to take care of our increasingly complex health needs is a daunting challenge. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation is helping to meet this critical need by awarding scholarships to deserving students who are committed to becoming future doctors.
Since 2007, PAMF’s affiliate Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center in Santa Cruz and the Central California Alliance for Health have awarded a two-year, $5,000 scholarship ($10,000 total) to pay the medical fees of a University of California, Santa Cruz health sciences graduate, who is dedicated to returning to his or her local community to take care of uninsured patients.
This year’s scholarship winner, David Pham, has gained hands-on medical experience working as an intern for a local Santa Cruz family medicine doctor and during a medical mission to Honduras. With ambitions of becoming a pediatrician, Pham has volunteered regularly with an East Palo Alto charter school’s healthy eating program and as a Spanish translator at the Watsonville RotaCare community clinic.
As part of our commitment to supporting future generations of doctors, PAMF physicians also awarded scholarships to the following three outstanding local high school students to help pay for their undergraduate studies:
Roshni Bhatnagar from Harker School in San Jose, who will attend Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois
Raymond Downer from Santa Cruz High School, who is going to University of California, Los Angeles
Nina Ho from Carlmont High School in Belmont, who will be attending the University of California, Berkeley
The Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group (PAFMG) Pre-Medical Scholarship, established in 1993 and funded by our physicians, provides $5,000 a year (a total of $20,000 per recipient) to deserving students who attend a four-year college and plan to pursue careers as doctors. Unlike most other scholarships, which are one-time awards, the PAFMG Pre-Medical Scholarship repeats for all four years of college, helping students fulfill their ambition to become a doctor and give back to their communities.
What’s the best way to show our deep commitment to serving the health care needs of the people in our communities? Invite patients to tell their own compelling stories about the top-quality care we’ve given them.
“Patients give because of the compassionate and exemplary care they receive,” says Mara Hook, regional vice president of philanthropy. “It is an expression of their gratitude for the people, programs and facilities of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Our patients’ generosity makes a crucial difference in our ability to fulfill our mission. One of the ways we express our appreciation toward these donors is by sharing their stories on our website.” Read More about Philanthropy Website Highlights Patients’ Stories