1/5/22 Press Release – Community Events Kick Off

First Community Event Kicks Off Project Talk Trial

Harrisburg, PA – The first of 75 events to examine the effectiveness of tools that encourage end-of-life conversations and planning in underserved populations nationwide was held today by Homeland at Home, a continuing care retirement community.

The event was part of Project Talk Trial, a five-year, randomized controlled trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Trial is being led by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine and University of Kentucky, in partnership with Hospice Foundation of America.

Homeland at Home joined with the People’s Community Baptist Church in Harrisburg to host the event.

“We had a nice crowd,” said Barbara Goll, community educator for Homeland at Home. “They were fully engaged, and we had a lot of fun. Hopefully everyone will follow through and complete an advance directive, and it will be a great experience for everyone.”

Underserved populations in the United States have the lowest rates of advance directive completion, which results in their preferences concerning medical treatment being undocumented and often unknown. Completing an advance directive is part the advance care planning process. Advance care planning requires individuals to consider medical interventions, such as being placed on a ventilator or being resuscitated, that they would or would not want if faced with a medical emergency,

“We are so thrilled that the first event from this national trial happened to be hosted in our hometown. It made it that more exciting to launch our project with such a great event,” said Dr. Lauren Jodi Van Scoy, associate professor of medicine, humanities and public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine and lead researcher for Project Talk Trial.

Project Talk Trial leaders said partnerships with community-based organizations are essential to the success of the project.

“We deeply value the special connection our Project Talk Trial host organizations have with their communities. By bringing these events to their communities, they are contributing to science and the wellbeing of underserved populations,” said Pamela Witt, Research Project Manager for the Project Talk Trial.

Individuals or organizations with experience hosting community events for underserved populations, including ethnic and racial minority backgrounds, rural communities or low-income, are encouraged to apply to host an event. If accepted, organizations will be provided training and resources to run an event. There is no cost for organizations to hold a Project Talk event. More information about Project Talk Trial can be found at projecttalktrial.org.