MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program (DCRP)
Director: Jonathan Alpert, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital
The Health Communication Core worked with researchers and staff of the MGH Depression and Clinical Research Program (DCRP) to develop a website to enhance its recruitment of study participants. DCRP typically recruits for an average of 10-20 studies at the same time, and depression research presents unique barriers to recruitment. The website development process began with exploration of the program’s audiences and creation of key messages that highlighted potential benefits of participating in depression research and addressed common barriers. These key messages informed subsequent development of the site’s content, colors, imagery, and organization.
Visitors may arrive at the new site in several ways--by conducting an online search for information about depression, responding to an ad about MGH depression research, or clicking through from a link on the main MGH site. Wherever they land in the site, the main navigation menu offers easy access to information and to directly contacting program staff.
Clicking on “Our Studies” provides visitors with a comprehensive list of all studies that are recruiting participants. Visitors can also view a subset of studies based on their interest, such as type of treatment (medication, psychotherapy, natural/alternative therapies) or specific population (youth/college students, women, ethnic/cultural groups). On specific study description pages, sidebars provide easy access to similar research opportunities.
The site was formatted for optimal display on cell phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. After an online training, supported by HCC’s downloadable user guide, DCRP staff were able to quickly assume responsibility for keeping its roster of research opportunities up-to-date.