Out of Many, One

Clinical Researcher—February 2020 (Volume 34, Issue 2)


Jim Kremidas


We just wrapped up a very productive and inspiring ACRP Association Board of Trustees (ABoT) meeting here at the home offices in Alexandria, Va. We covered a lot of exciting ground, and we’ll be sharing the results with you here in the journal, and in upcoming messages in other formats.

For example, we’re exploring adding a second regional conference in 2020 because our 2019 event in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park region was such a success on so many levels.

However, instead of talking specifics in this space today, I wanted to focus on the bigger issue of advancing the professionalization of the clinical trial workforce. Our ABoT Chair for 2020, Paul Evans, touches on it in his own message for the journal this month, and the entire board stressed it throughout the latest meeting. In fact, it was something of an unofficial theme of the gathering.

Onward, Research Soldiers

The ACRP organization and its members are dedicated to not only helping individuals thrive in their careers, but to raise the quality bar for the entire clinical trials workforce. It’s a strong human calling to want to be part of something bigger than one’s self, and I believe ACRP is answering that call by promoting certifications, standards, and other tools critical to giving the ranks of our professionals the respect they deserve.

We aren’t doing this alone, of course. In fact, individuals and organizations are seemingly joining forces with us every day. Here are two recent examples we’re delighted to share:

Earlier in February, ACRP welcomed the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the latest member of the Workforce Innovation Steering Committee (WISC).

The WISC is a collaborative partnership of private and public stakeholders working to improve clinical trial quality and to respond to changes impacting the workforce by providing oversight for needed standardization activities. The partnership has led several standardization initiatives in clinical research, including publication of competency guidelines for clinical trial monitors and clinical research coordinators.

Just a few days later, we announced a new partnership with Pro-ficiency that brings together two of the world’s leading providers of clinical research workforce development solutions, and will empower ACRP to provide a next-generation, competence-based professional development experience to its global network of 50,000-plus clinical research professionals and organizations.

Despite the important role clinical trials play in the development of new drugs and therapies, our industry has too often and for too long approached workforce development with a “check box” mentality—ensuring compliance with training requirements, but failing to adequately develop competency or raise the standard of clinical trial conduct. By connecting clinical research professionals and organizations with cutting-edge development programs, this partnership with Pro-ficiency will usher in a new era in workforce development that will fully unlock the potential of our profession.

Lots more good stuff is on the way in 2020! Watch this space.

As always, if you have thoughts or would like to learn about ways you can lend your expertise to your Association’s efforts, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at jkremidas@acrpnet.org.

Jim Kremidas is Executive Director of ACRP.