The Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA), an international organization with a mission to promote excellence in clinical research, recently held its much-anticipated annual conference in Montreal. This gathering marked a significant milestone as it was the first in-person conference since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With nearly 1,000 attendees from over 10 countries, including representatives from the FDA and NIH, SOCRA's annual conference 2023 was a resounding success. Representatives from the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, Yale Cancer Center, and Yale HRPP were highlighted and contributed to key moments from the conference.
SOCRA, with a membership of 15,000 Clinical Research Professionals, of which 11,000 are Certified Clinical Research Professionals, is dedicated to several core missions. These include the protection of research subjects, the improvement of global health, fostering education, promoting information exchange, and certification for clinical research professionals. These objectives were at the forefront of the annual conference's agenda.
At the conference, leadership transitions took center stage. Jessica Rowe, the Director of Quality and Education at the Yale Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office, assumed the role of SOCRA President and served as the Chairperson of the meeting. Rowe not only expertly moderated the opening and closing plenaries but also presented at two individual sessions and the IRB and Informed Consent Pre-conference workshop. Her contributions were widely acknowledged and appreciated by conference attendees.
Laura Holtz, a Clinical Research Associate at the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, took on the role of President-elect. Laura also moderated the Project Management track, presented at the IRB and Informed Consent Pre-conference workshop, and delivered a noteworthy presentation during the Closing Plenary on the subject of leading a successful research program.
The Yale community made significant contributions to the conference. Alyssa Gateman concluded her term on the Board of Directors and moderated and presented at the SOP Development and Implementation Pre-conference workshop and moderated the GCP and Audit Preparedness track, sharing valuable insights and expertise.
Linda Coleman, HRPP Director, presented a session on "Decentralized Clinical Trials: Navigating Ethical, Regulatory, and Practical Considerations for Successful Planning and Implementation." Her presentation shed light on the complexities and ethical considerations involved in conducting decentralized clinical trials.
Yale was also well-represented in the poster presentations. Kira Pavlik, the Clinical Operations Senior Assistant Director at YCC CTO, received a Special Recognition award as a finalist for her poster on "Filling the Gap: A Novel Approach to Training and Integrating Research Pharmacists with Clinical Research Teams." This poster showcased the collaborative efforts between Investigational Drug Services (Thomas Ferencz, Prashant Patel), HRPP (Linda Coleman), YCCI (Ruta Sawant), and YCC. In Kira’s absence, Linda Coleman and Ruta Sawant, a YCCI QA Specialist, both co-authors presented at the oral portion of the abstract competition.
Theresa Goddard, Assistant Director of Monitoring at YCCI, presented a poster on "Using Effort Tracking Data to Evaluate Budgeting and More Accurately Estimate the Monitoring Support Required for Investigator-Initiated Trials." Her work addressed the critical issue of budgeting in clinical trials.
Laura Lynn and Matthew Piscatelli, both Quality Assurance Specialists at YCCI, presented a poster on "Utilizing a Single Point of Contact for Sponsor and Cooperative Group Audits," demonstrating innovative approaches to streamline audit processes.
Several other members of the YCC CTO team attended the SOCRA annual conference to further their career and professional development. Notable attendees included Sara Raboin, Director of Operations at YCC CTO; Daniel Moncayo, Clinical Research Coordinator for the Leukemia Clinical Research Team; and Hsien-Ning Liu, Regulatory Affairs Specialist at YCC CTO. Their participation reflected the commitment of Yale's clinical research community to staying at the forefront of industry advancements.
SOCRA's annual conference in 2023 marked a significant step towards showcasing Yale’s expertise on a national level. With leadership transitions, valuable presentations, and impressive poster contributions from Yale, the conference showcased the dedication of clinical research professionals to advancing the field and ensuring the highest standards of research subject protection and global health improvement. As SOCRA continues to fulfill its mission, events like this annual conference play a crucial role in shaping the future of clinical research.