1/18/24 Press Release – Recruitment Continues

Advance Care Planning Reaches Underserved Across U.S.

Recruitment Continues for National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research

WASHINGTON – Community outreach leaders and liaisons are urged to apply to serve as hosts for the Project Talk Trial, a national, 5-year research project funded by National institutes of Health that seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of advance care planning conversations and whether those discussions result in advance care planning actions.

Led by Penn State University College of Medicine, in collaboration with Hospice Foundation of America and University of Kentucky, the project provides up to $90 in gift cards to event attendees and a $300 stipend to hosts to defray event expenses.

The project is specifically focused on underserved communities of people who historically have the poorest access to healthcare services and the lowest engagement in advance care planning, which include racial and ethnic minorities, low-income individuals, and rural populations.

“Hosts in diverse communities nationwide have embraced the Project Talk Trial and have partnered with us to explore these important scientific questions while also providing a great service to their own communities,” said Dr. Lauren Jodi Van Scoy, professor of medicine, humanities and public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine and lead researcher for Project Talk Trial.

Thus far, 46 events have been held or are scheduled, and 53 applicants have been accepted, with a goal of 75 events by early 2025. Nearly 1,000 adults have participated in the Trial to date. The events have been hosted by faith communities, hospitals, hospices, healthcare coalitions, and other community-based organizations with an interest in population health and well-being. Event hosts and participants are enthusiastic about the events they have held and attended.

“The conversations we facilitated were wonderful to witness and now the participants have the tools and resources to keep these conversations going,” said Tonya Oolman, a Project Talk host in Cherokee, Iowa. “Being a part of something bigger, like a national research project, is very exciting!”

One event attendee said her participation was eye opening, “I feel like it was huge for me because it’s something that I never really thought about it till I got involved. I never heard about it; I just never knew that option was available for people to have.”

Applying to be a host is easily done online. Once accepted to the Trial, the events are randomly assigned to one of three different study arms, which include The Conversation Project, the Hello game, or TableTopics, which is the control group. The Conversation Project and the Hello game engage event attendees in advance care planning discussions, while Table Topics is a conversation game designed to spur conversation about a wide range of topics. An advance directive workbook is provided to all event participants, regardless of study arm. Research assistants travel to every event and perform all required research work, while also supporting the site host during the event.

To learn more about the Project Talk Trial and bring Project Talk to your community, visit projecttalktrial.org or contact Cindy Bramble, Community Outreach Project Manager, at info@projecttalktrial.org.