A Call to Action for ACRP 2023 First-Time Attendees

Have you made your reservations to attend ACRP 2023 in Dallas, coming up quickly with its April 28 launch? Will it be your first time at an ACRP conference (or any large continuing education and networking event)?

If so, perhaps you are feeling like first-timer Adrian Cufley, MBA, President of the ACRP Pacific Northwest Chapter, who admits to being excited to “grow my professional network and make friends with like-minded research professionals from around the world” and ready to be “inspired by innovative presentations and motivating conversations.”

ACRP 2023 will offer plenty of opportunities for inspiration, information, and connection, including a special event for first-timers (more details below). To help those who will be new to the event, a few ACRP conference veterans offer the following sentiments on why they attend and their favorite tips, tricks, and best practices for getting the most from the event:

Photograph of LaShawna GreenLaShawna Green, RN, BSN, BS, CCRC, CVRN-BC
ACRP Greater Houston Area Chapter President

Attending an ACRP conference affords an individual the opportunity to network with clinical research professionals from all over the country. Enjoy the unforgettable experience. Many attendees have a vision to learn and share, and a plan to advance the field of clinical research which will ultimately impact the treatment options to patients everywhere. You will depart with a plethora of ideas and feeling inspired…make sure to take action!

Christine Senn, PhD, CCRC, CPI, ACRP-CP, FACRP
ACRP Fellow and Board of Trustees Chair

Conferences can be intimidating for some people, especially for those of us who are introverted or for those who don’t know anyone yet. I highly recommend chatting with other attendees at the conference, as ACRP veterans like me will make you feel welcome. Also, definitely visit the ACRP booth where, not only can you ask questions of staff members, but Board members tend to hang out there, so you can meet so many amazing thought leaders in our great profession!

Jessica Fritter headshotJessica Fritter, MACPR, ACRP-CP
ACRP Content Committee Vice Chair

Attending the ACRP conference is such an incredible experience—from the sessions to networking opportunities, you will constantly be amazed by the content and people. Do not be afraid to sit next to someone you do not know. This is your time to talk, learn, and enjoy!

Dušan Nikolić-Dorschel, BA, BS, CCRC, ACRP-CP, ACRP-PM, ACRP-MDP
ACRP Suncoast Chapter Leader

My favorite part of an ACRP conference is the ability to interact with individuals from different aspects of our industry—from sponsors, sites, and contract research organizations. I took many gems of information home with me last time. My advice to attendees is to review the schedule and pick topics you are not comfortable with. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and talk to the vendors at the Expo Hall. There are plenty of industry connections to make. Don’t forget your business cards!

ACRP Fellow and Editorial Advisor to the Clinical Researcher

Initiate conversations with those around you at the conference. Don’t assume that the person sitting next to you or standing next to you will start the conversation. Don’t assume that your advances will be rejected. Look for opportunities to sit near other conference attendees and walk up to strangers. Introduce yourself proudly. Ask people who they are, where they are from, and what they do.

Paula Smailes, DNP, RN, CCRP
Editorial Advisor to the Clinical Researcher

I always find these conferences very inspiring! I would encourage attendees to approach speakers with innovative ideas that they would like to see implemented at their own organization, and to develop a relationship with them. Use them as a resource and don’t be afraid to ask for virtual meetings to learn more or to include organizational leadership. There is no need to recreate the wheel when you learn at the conference that someone else has already figured out and implemented exactly what you want. Definitely have plenty of business cards on hand to share.

Elizabeth Weeks-Rowe, LVN, CCRA
Frequent presenter at ACRP conferences and contributor to the Clinical Researcher

I would encourage the individual to try and connect with attendees from their network at the conference whom they haven’t already met in person. It is always fun to meet connections this way and perhaps attend some trainings together. I would also encourage them to be open minded about evening social events or get-togethers. During my first conference, I went to dinner with some interesting people I met during a training and made some strong connections with whom I now meet up each year I attend.

Sergio Armani
ACRP Board of Trustees Member and ACRP Ride4DEI Creator

Beyond working toward completing my continuing education credits and learning from industry experts on topics that will allow me to excel in my job, being able to meet new people, network, and create new friendships has not only allowed me to advance in my career, but have fun while doing it!

David J. Morin, MD, FACP, CPI, FACRP
ACRP Fellow and Immediate-Past Chair of the ACRP Board of Trustees

Have a plan ahead of the conference for which sessions you wish to attend and use the ACRP app. I highly recommend attending all of the Signature Series sessions and any discussions led by presenters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Connect with your local Chapter if it is represented at the conference. Lunch is a great time to sit with someone you don’t know and get acquainted. Take some time to meet with our vendors in the Expo Hall—their support of ACRP helps to make this conference possible. Above all, have fun learning and meeting new people, and share that knowledge when you get back home. And come back next year!

Susan LandisSusan P. Landis
ACRP Executive Director

As a first-timer at an ACRP conference in 2022, I recall being so impressed with the knowledge shared—so much was applicable and actionable for professional growth in clinical research. I also felt incredibly grateful for the contributions that clinical research professionals make to advancing medicine.

Shari Anwar, CCRC
ACRP North Texas Chapter President

While not an expert on ACRP conferences, having only attended one, I can attest to being an expert on experiencing Dallas. From the vibrant cultural scene to the plethora of restaurants, there are more places than time to see them. But if you have just an hour, take a quick walk to the Dallas Museum of Art or the Nasher Sculpture Center. They are located next to Klyde Warren Park and offer quite a relaxing experience.

All those whose find themselves qualified for it can also drop by the First-Time Attendee Get-Together—an informal gathering to be held on Friday, April 28, from 4:00 – 5:00 PM, right before the Opening Reception in the Expo Hall. This will be another great opportunity to learn more about the conference and connecting with other first-time attendees. If you plan on being part of this special get-together, please give us your details by April 23.

Edited by Gary Cramer