September 2013 Archives

Clinical research coordinators (CRCs) are an important part of research teams, but some find themselves in the profession without adequate training. Even if they have a scientific background, they may not understand the necessary regulations, policies and intricacies of conducting research on human subjects.

A group of CRCs and research managers at the University of Minnesota identified a need for training, and worked with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute - Office of Interprofessional Workforce Development to create a comprehensive orientation program for new CRCs. This week, after two years of hard work, the group unveiled the Clinical Research Coordinator Orientation program to their peers.

The online program uses interactive online exercises and real-world examples to train CRCs on responsibilities ranging from good clinical practice and research ethics to policies and regulatory considerations. This gives CRCs a "one-stop-shop" to access and track the relevant trainings essential to conduct their work.

"I think it's cool how many people have come up to me and said 'I wish we had this,'" says Susan Anderson, one of the leaders behind the program as well as a clinical research coordinator at Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Minnesota. "It's obviously filling an important need."

Anderson and a group of other research support professionals acted as content experts, while the Clinical and Translational Science Institute provided the resources to develop, manage and support the program.

"Well-trained support staff are critical to the success of a clinical study," says Michelle Lamere, assistant director for education programs at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. "This orientation program empowers CRCs to ensure quality research practices while furthering their professional development."

Courses can be taken anytime, anywhere and are free to CRCs at the University of Minnesota. To enroll, email crctrain@umn.edu or visit the CRC Orientation Moodle page (requires University of Minnesota login).