Roxanne Crosby-Nwaobi wins award for campaign to increase diversity in clinical trials

Dr Roxanne Crosby-Nwaobi, lead nurse for research at Moorfields, was named Nurse Researcher of the Year at the RCN Nursing Awards 2023 on the 10th of November, for her ongoing campaign to increase diversity in clinical trials.

Underserved communities, minor ethnic groups and people from socioeconomically deprived areas are traditionally poorly represented in clinical trials. In response, Roxanne has been leading a campaign to raise awareness of opportunities to take part in research among underserved communities. By making underserved communities more represented, it not only improves their outcomes, but the overall effectiveness of new treatments in a wider, more diverse population.

Roxanne was a key force in establishing Research Opportunities at Moorfields (ROAM), a digital platform for patients, staff and members of the public to easily register their interest in clinical trials. She has since been working with focus groups to translate ROAM promotional materials into languages such as Gujarati, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Bengali, and with staff and Friends of Moorfields volunteers to make them accessible and available for patients. Translations into Turkish, Polish, Pashto and Dari versions are also under development.

She has also has been conducting roadshows to highlight the importance of eye research in local communities, speaking to hundreds of people about the benefits of taking part in trials and busting myths, and is on track to have delivered 50 roadshows by next March. Roxanne also works in collaboration with charities and organisations that focus on the needs of minor ethnic groups to meet and speak to people in churches, mosques, temples, hairdressers/barbers, and community health hubs. Furthermore, she took part in a series of radio interviews to promote the campaign alongside a clinical and therapeutic applications specialist, and a patient who had recently taken part in a Moorfields trial. The interviews achieved over 14+ hours of airtime, reaching almost 43 million listeners. 

Roxanne Crosby Nwaobi

Roxanne said: ‘The common thread in my work is “using research to meet people at the point of their need”, and I am humbled that my efforts have won the recognition of my colleagues. I’m pleased to shed light further light on the importance of diversity in research and the need for increased and continued efforts to reduce health inequalities through research.’

The chair of the judging panel Joanne Bosanquet, chief executive of the Foundation for Nursing Studies and fellow of the RCN, said: ‘We were blown away by the utter brilliance of all our nominees and finalists in the Researcher of the Year category. But Roxanne Crosby-Nwoabi has done such excellent work in this important area, which will have impact in recruiting to trials from underserved communities. The reach of the project is clearly demonstrated with clear evidence of impact and engagement. Roxanne is a fantastic ambassador for nursing.’

Congratulations to Roxanne, and all staff and volunteers who have helped work on the campaign. 

15 November 2023