Thank you, James Lind!

Jim Kremidas, Executive Director, ACRP

Jim Kremidas, Executive Director, ACRP

Clinical Researcher—May 2019 (Volume 33, Issue 5)


Jim Kremidas

Two hundred and fifty years ago, when the British empire ruled the Atlantic Ocean, Scottish physician James Lind was tasked with finding out why scurvy was killing more sailors than Spanish and French enemies. Like a few others, he had a theory that adding fruit to the military diet might do the trick. For proof, in 1747 he conducted one of the first documented clinical trials.

After eight weeks at sea as surgeon of the HMS Salisbury, as scurvy began to take its toll on the crew, Lind decided to test his idea that the putrefaction of the body caused by the disease could be prevented with acids from fruit. On May 20, he divided a dozen sailors into six pairs, and gave each a different supplement in their diet: cider, vitriolic elixir (diluted sulfuric acid), vinegar, sea water, two oranges and a lemon, or a purgative mixture.

As a result of what some have considered the first clinical trial in history, only the two sailors who took the fruit improved. “The most sudden and visible good effects were perceived from the use of oranges and lemons,” Lind wrote in 1753 in his historical work A Treatise of the Scurvy. “One of those who had taken them being at the end of six days fit for duty … The other was the best recovered of any in his condition; and being now deemed pretty well, was appointed nurse to the rest of the sick.”

We’ve come a long way since the days of Lind, and while every day is clinical trials day in our industry, we like to call May 20 a special “Clinical Trials Day” and promote its celebration by stakeholders in the clinical research enterprise through events around the country, and the world.

This day of celebration also provides our community with a unique opportunity to raise awareness of clinical trials—and of clinical research as a career option—among the greater public.

This year we are excited to partner with PopUp Star to kick off a contest to bring clinical trials awareness to the masses starting on Clinical Trials Day. From San Antonio to Miami, from Las Vegas to Australia, innovative, and fun, events will educate the public about the value of clinical trials and the work you do every day.

If you’d like to share how you celebrate Clinical Trials Day with us, please check out the ACRP Facebook page at for details as the big day approaches.

Jim Kremidas ( is Executive Director of ACRP.