Chair’s Message: An “In the Trenches” Perspective on the Clinical Research Enterprise

Clinical Researcher—February 2018 (Volume 32, Issue 2)

Kathryn Kimmel, CCRC, CCRA, ACRP-CP, FACRP

[DOI: 10.14524/CR-18-4014]

ACRP’s 2018 Association Board of Trustees (ABoT) Chair Kathryn Kimmel is excited about her new role helping members and potential members learn more about how the Association can advance their careers and the quality of clinical research.

On a personal level, Kimmel sings the praises of the Association’s many networking opportunities. “I tell people I don’t have friends in town anymore because I travel so frequently,” she laughs. “But I have friends all over the world because of my interactions with ACRP.”

ACRP Editor-in-Chief Michael Causey spoke with Kimmel in early February.

Q: How do you think your own expertise will help you as you work with the ABoT? What’s the unique perspective you might bring?

A: I think I’m one of the few on the board who still is working in the trenches, so to speak. I do the day in/day out work that needs to be done for drug approval. I think I understand and commiserate with the clinical research coordinators (CRCs) and clinical research associates (CRAs) on a very personal level, because I do this every day. I am not making the decisions—I have to implement the decisions from upper management to make sure our studies are successful.

I hope my experience allows us to give even more focus to ACRP’s grassroots membership.

Q: You’ve just chaired your first ABoT meeting. Can you talk about your goals for 2018?

A: We on the board all share a common goal to improve the quality of clinical research in any setting. The CRC competency initiative is a good example. We’ve already gotten a tremendous feedback on CRA competencies, but we’ve gotten even more overwhelming feedback for CRC competencies. To me, that just shows us where we need to focus the most: on the quality at the sites.

Right now, you can’t really do anything but dive right in—sink or swim—to learn how to do this job, and quality suffers. We need to be the people at the forefront to drive competency initiatives and help advance education and training in the clinical trial industry.

Q: How can ACRP members become more active in their organization?

A: I can only speak from my personal experience, but I joined ACRP a month after I became a new CRC. That was after my principal investigator requested it. He knew the value of the training I would receive from ACRP. I attended my first conference within three months of being hired because of him. He knew that’s where I needed to go to learn how to do what I was going to be asked to do.

I encourage people new in the field to become members of ACRP chapters, look at the website, and use those things as a springboard into the industry. I have said many, many times that the hours I’ve spent volunteering for ACRP have paid me back triple fold. I can stay on top of trending issues, I know before most of my colleagues what’s going on in the industry, and I’ve met some wonderful people along the way.

Kathryn Kimmel, CCRC, CCRA, ACRP-CP, FACRP, (kimmelkathy@prahs.com) is a Senior Clinical Research Associate with PRA Health Sciences and the 2018 Association Board of Trustees Chair for ACRP.