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Data-Driven Inclusive Communications and Outreach Campaign
for the Pass It On Clinical Trial

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Project: Pass It On Clinical Trial

Client Company: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Department: Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR)

Dates of project: July 2020 - December 2021

Type of Project: Multicultural and Multilingual Outreach 

The challenge:

VUMC Research Support Services for the clinical trial asked Culture Shift Team (CST) to design and lead the communications outreach campaign to inform members of minority communities about the trial taking place in 26 hospitals across the US. Culture Shift Team helped recruit racially and ethnically diverse patients hospitalized with COVID-19 to participate in the PASS IT ON clinical study to understand if convalescent plasma from recovered patients increased rates of recovery.

Complicating Factors and Solutions:

To be relevant and effective, the clinical trial needed participants from the communities most adversely impacted to join the study– essential workers from Black and Latino communities.

The education outreach campaign included a multilingual website featuring videos from research experts, a social media campaign, out-of-home media, and digital media.


Due to historical mistreatment and discrimination, Black and Brown communities have a distrust of healthcare institutions and research studies, meaning their participation in clinical trials has been minimal.

In order to educate the target demographics about the Pass It On trial, CST partnered with trusted community partners who were regularly communicating about COVID to their constituents. CST developed the campaign to be disseminated through organizations and leaders that have established trust with their community members.


The subject matter was somewhat complex, and many community leaders had questions about the process, the risks and safety of the trial.

CST worked with the client to make research experts available for webinars with community organizations such as the NAACP to answer questions about the importance of the study and to address the risks involved for patients.

What is Convalescent Plasma Animated Video for the Pass It On Clinical Trial in Spanish

Culture Shift Team Approach:

Culture Shift Team worked closely with the Research Support Services team to identify target audiences, develop messaging that could pass approval from the IRB, develop campaign assets, develop multilingual and culturally informed tools that sites could use to educate and enroll participants into the clinical trial.

Data Research to Better Understand Audiences:

CST’s data team conducted demographic research to better understand the target audiences.



Culturally and Linguistically Informed Messaging:

CST developed campaign messaging in English, Spanish, Chinese


Asset and Collateral Design and Production:

  • Video production

  • Website development

  • Social media pages on

  • Toolkits and assets for community organizations


Public Relations

  • Media Interviews and Media relations

  • Gained earned media public service announcement on Telemundo.

  • Bilingual recall navigation call center and response center to rapidly respond to public inquiries.

  • PR Toolkit for partner organizations

Social Media Campaign

  • Creation of social media accounts and management

  • Design of posts in two languages

  • Zip code targeted post boost

  • Influencer campaign management


Media Buy

  • Out-of-home advertising

  • Radio

  • Digital and social media

Community Outreach and Partnership Development

  • Reached out to 1700 organizations across the US to share information about the clinical trial.

  • Reached out to community leaders and influencers 


Community Engagement and Education

  • Scheduled and managed 4 webinars to educate participants about the clinical trial.

  • Reached out and secured patient testimonials to share on social media and on the website.

  • Sent organizations a marketing toolkit for them to disseminate information about the clinical trial. Tool kit included, social media posts, copy to add to their website, and copy to include in e-newsletters.


  • Trial goal achieved: 974 participants joined the Pass It On trial which took place at 26 locations across the United States.

  • 39% of the participants were members of a minority group, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indian.

  • CST established partnerships with over 1,700 community organizations across the United States to bring awareness about the trial. 

  • Educational webinars were conducted by the client with 11 of the leading national organizations serving underrepresented communities focusing on Black and Latino audiences in the continental United States.

  • Achieved over 2 million impressions on the clinical trial's social media accounts.

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