Danielle Campbell has an appetite for research. The California native says she satisfies this hunger by taking advantage of the community positions available with the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) Network.
“HIV research has been an interest of mine for a long time,” says Campbell. “I completed an undergraduate degree practicum with the Orange County AIDS service organization. Through this role, I was able to see that the needs of our clients were met. In my current role with the ACTG, I can ensure that the needs of research participants are met.”
In January 2013, Campbell joined the Community Advisory Board (CAB) of the ACTG’s University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) CARE Center site. CAB members serve as a bridge, connecting the community with the research being conducted at each ACTG site around the world. Her CAB meets the third Tuesday of each month to discuss drafts of study proposals, to listen to researchers speak about their work and to receive an update about the state of the ACTG.
“We get the first crack at new research because we hear investigators’ concept proposals,” Campbell says. “We can then share our input from a community perspective.”
Recognizing her passion for enhancing the ACTG’s scientific agenda, Campbell’s site asked her to represent them on the Network’s Global Community Advisory Board (GCAB). One CAB member from each of the ACTG’s 60 sites sits on the GCAB.
“We get to meet in person a couple of times a year and that is helpful,” says Campbell. “It really makes the technical aspect of the science more understandable.”
Campbell then decided to apply for the final opportunity available to community members – serving on the ACTG’s Community Scientific Subcommittee (CSS). CSS representatives sit on ACTG study teams providing input from the community’s point of view as the study moves from a concept to an active protocol to a published article. She was elected to the group in November and already serves as the CSS rep to a developing study about HIV reservoir eradication.
“I present the study team with the GCABs’ feedback,” says Campbell. “It really satisfies my passion for research.”
Liz Barr serves on the CSS with Campbell.
“Danielle is a fantastic new addition to the CSS. She really embodies our commitment to community, and she has jumped right in, taking up positions with the Women’s Health Inter-Network Scientific Committee (WHISC) and Community Partners,” says Barr. “Danielle doesn’t hesitate to ask questions, and to offer valuable insights into topics that are up for discussion. It is incredible to see somebody dive in headfirst, and not be afraid to take on responsibilities. Danielle is a real leader, and I can’t wait to watch what she does with the rest of her term on the Community Scientific Subcommittee. She is a real inspiration, and it’s such an honor to work with her.”
The WHISC is tasked with ensuring the ACTG investigates the unique way in which HIV affects women and that women are represented in research studies. Campbell was instrumental in conducting a survey of GCAB members asking them for areas where the ACTG could improve its research into HIV and women.
“Some of the areas people would like to see researched are sex differences in metabolizing medications, reproductive health and contraception in women living with HIV, and cardiovascular implications associated with taking anti-HIV medications,” Campbell says. “This is important feedback for the ACTG’s investigators and it gives the community the chance to make their concept an actuality. Research into women should be a forethought not an afterthought.”
Raphael Landovitz, MD, MSc, is the Clinical Research Site Leader at the ACTG’s UCLA CARE Center site.
“Danielle has been a welcome addition to the UCLA CARE Clinical Research Site’s CAB,” says Landovitz. “She is wonderfully enthusiastic and engaged in all of our activities.”
By day, Campbell works as a phlebotomist. She’s hoping to take flight lessons and earn her pilot’s license. But for right now, her work with the ACTG is her priority.
“My roles with the ACTG allow me to take my passion for research and give it feet,” says Campbell. “I am making a tangible difference in the lives of people living with HIV and that’s powerful.”