It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the value of certification, according to clinical trial thought leader Christina Brennan, MD, MBA, CCRC, vice president of clinical research at Northwell Health in New York.
Brennan sees the positive impact of certification every day on the job at Northwell, where she has overseen clinical research support personnel, principal investigators, and other staff with mentoring and training since 2015. Her team includes more than 300 total research staff, with some 75 of them being Certified Clinical Research Coordinators (CCRCs) through ACRP. They are currently engaged in 375 active clinical trials.
“We value certification,” Brennan says. Northwell reimburses staff if they make a passing score and considers it a sound investment in the present and the future. “It makes for stronger healthcare, it validates staff knowledge, and it’s attractive to sponsors,” she explains.
Brennan is a big advocate of certification across the board. “I’m a big believer that it’s not just about [the investigators]—you’ve got to have qualified coordinators. They are necessary to study success,” she says.
Valuing certification at the top of the organizational chart also has a positive impact on morale and broader company culture, Brennan says. “Coordinators feel empowered, and even new entrants are yearning to take the exam” because they want to be part of the movement toward higher quality and professionalization in the clinical trial workforce, she explains.
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Brennan has seen certification’s value directly when it comes to landing competitive cystic fibrosis–related clinical trials. Northwell has two certified pulmonologists, one of whom specializes in pediatrics, and both sought certification because “they didn’t want to be left behind” when the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation made it clear it wanted to work with Certified Principal Investigators (CPIs).
“It opens the doors to a lot of opportunities,” says Janice Wang, MD, CPI, with Northwell.
“We’re competitive and we want to win trials,” Brennan. “Certifying PIs can attract more clinical trials.”
Author: Michael Causey