Communications Handbook for Clinical Trials: Strategies, tips, and tools to manage controversy, convey your message, and disseminate results


Deborah Baron
Deborah Baron, MPH, MIA, is a clinical research manager: clinical research consortium, at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (Wits RHI) in Johannesburg, South Africa. In this capacity, she works as consortium manager for the Follow-on African Consortium for Tenofovir Studies (FACTS). She co-authored the handbook as a senior program officer with the Global Campaign for Microbicides (GCM) at PATH, in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she managed projects including the Microbicides Media and Communications Initiative (MMCI). Deborah has over 15 years of experience in the HIV/AIDS and human rights advocacy fields, including extensive experience in communications, stakeholder management, and community and advocate engagement in HIV prevention research. In 2005, she participated in a Phase I PRO 2000 microbicide safety study in New York City. Baron has master’s degrees from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the School of International and Public Affairs.

Sarah V. Harlan
Sarah V. Harlan, MPH, is a program officer II for the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Communication Programs. She co-authored the handbook as a technical officer in Family Health International’s (FHI’s) Knowledge Management Department in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Sarah oversaw the tracking and analysis of media coverage of FHI research and provided strategic communications support for clinical trials. Prior to obtaining her master’s degree from the Maternal and Child Health Department at the University of North Carolina, she worked with Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina.

Lori L. Heise
Lori Heise is a senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)  and co-research director of STRIVE, an international research consortium dedicated to addressing the structural drivers of HIV. She served as the founding director of GCM from 1998 through 2009 and was one of the original founders of the MMCI. She is an internationally recognized expert on the dimensions, causes, and prevention of intimate partner violence and is widely credited with getting violence against women onto the global health agenda and spearheading the search for new women-controlled methods of HIV prevention. In 2001, Lori received the President’s award for excellence in advocacy from the American Social Health Association and was recognized by Ms. Magazine in 2003 as one of the “50 women who made a difference.” In 2010, a jury of her peers awarded her the Omolulu Falobi Memorial Award for her contributions to ethics and community engagement in HIV prevention research.

Jill Moffett
Jill Moffett, PhD, MPH, is a free-lance writer who writes about women’s health, education, and variety of issue pertaining to gender, race, class, and sexuality. She co-authored the handbook as a science writer at FHI. Jill did her graduate work at the University of Iowa. Her doctoral thesis—on a two-year ethnographic study of the breast cancer movement in the United States and Canada—explores how activists influence healthy policy. Jill taught courses on women’s activism and global health at the University of Iowa and Cornell College and served on the board of a regional domestic violence prevention organization for three years. Before joining FHI, she worked at the Sheps Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill on a National Institutes of Health initiative, the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Roadmap.

Elizabeth T. Robinson
Elizabeth T. Robinson, MS, is technical director for knowledge management for the Health Policy Project at Futures Group, focusing on global health policy, advocacy, governance, and finance. She co-authored the handbook as co-chair of the MMCI and head of FHI’s Information Programs group, where she managed publications for FHI’s global portfolio of research and programs and provided technical assistance in strategic communication for research studies. She also served as project director for FHI’s participation in the K4Health Project, co-chair of MMCI, and as communications director for FHI’s Preventive Technologies Agreement. In the early 1980s, Beth worked as a journalist in New York, Washington, DC, North Africa, and francophone West Africa. She has taught scientific paper-writing programs for international researchers, including courses in English, French, and Spanish, and trained African journalists in specialized health reporting. She is the co-author of Qualitative Methods in Public Health: A Field Guide for Applied Research (Jossey Bass, 2005). Beth received a master’s degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York and held a fellowship in the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs Fellows Program.


Preface written by ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS DESMOND M. TUTU, who is a tireless champion in the fight against AIDS and tuberculosis and serves as patron of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine.