CHÉOS Project Manager Judy Needham recently accepted an award on behalf of the Clinical Research Professionals of British Columba (CRPBC). We spoke with Judy to learn more about the CRPBC and the award.
What is your role with CHÉOS? How long have you been here?
I joined CHÉOS and the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) in 2017. I provide project management support to CHÉOS and CTN investigators. I enjoy providing research support to new investigators and helping guide them through the process of developing their research ideas into research studies and clinical trials. Previously, I worked as a Research Coordinator at the Vaccine Evaluation Centre at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and as a Research Program Manager in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at UBC. Working in clinical research is very rewarding, especially when a study that you were involved with contributes to the approval of a new drug, therapy, or procedure that can improve the health of Canadians.
What is the CRPBC?
The Clinical Research Professionals of British Columbia (CRPBC) is an informal, inclusive group of Clinical Research Professionals who work in B.C. The CRPBC is organized by volunteers who form the Advisory Committee. The CRPBC’s mission is to provide networking and professional development opportunities for clinical research professionals. The CRPBC holds formal meetings seven times per year between September and June as a Speaker Series featuring a presentation and discussion, and time for networking. The events are hosted by our community sponsor, Fasken, in downtown Vancouver. Meetings are offered to satellite sites throughout B.C. via videoconference. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, CRPBC meetings are being held virtually.
What is your role there and how long have you been a member?
I have been a member of the CRPBC since 2004, a member of the Advisory Committee since 2008, and I am the current Advisory Committee Chair. I am very proud to serve on the Advisory Committee alongside six other dedicated individuals who volunteer their time to plan and organize the Speaker Series educational program: Aleksandra Kuzmanovic (VGH), Catherine Mok (UBC), Janette Polmanter (LifeLabs), Marija Bucevska (BCCH), Nera Andjelic (VGH), and Olga Arsovska (VGH).
How does your work with CRPBC relate to your work at CHÉOS/CTN?
As an Advisory Committee member, I help plan the Speaker Series program that provides professional development opportunities. Our invited speakers present on research-related topics that help me in my day-to-day work at CHÉOS/CTN. Past topics have included risk management, clinical trial applications, informed consent, research ethics, data management, patient-oriented research, budgeting for clinical trials, contracts, and legal issues in clinical research.
What award is the CRPBC receiving?
CRPBC was awarded the Clinical Trials BC Service Award for 2020. The award recognizes the community-based, volunteer commitment of an individual or organization to the improvement of the research and clinical trials community. This award marked CRPBC’s 25 years of service to the B.C. research and clinical trials community. In that time, CRPBC has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the clinical trials through activities that address challenges while inspiring and mentoring the next generation of clinical research teams and professionals.
The CRPBC’s community sponsor Fasken also received an award — the Clinical Trials BC Support Award for 2020. Fasken has provided 25 years of support to the research and clinical trials community and has made an enormous contribution to the professional development and ongoing education of research team professionals by providing a forum for clinical research professionals to meet, share ideas, develop partnerships, and keep abreast of the changing regulatory and legal environment.
Both awards were presented to recipients at an online award ceremony held at the end of January (video link: https://youtu.be/52-BjhF-1UQ).
What is the benefit of being a part of a group like the CRPBC? What does the organization mean to its members?
The CRPBC provides a forum to meet, share ideas, and develop partnerships within the clinical trial community. Our meetings are open to anyone interested in clinical research and attendees come from academic institutions, private industry, community-based research sites, or other research-based organizations. Members range from new graduates from the biotech and sciences sector to those with 25 years (or more) of clinical research experience. Being able to network with such a diverse group and discuss research and its rewards and challenges is important to the CRPBC community.
What is in the future for CRPBC?
The Advisory Committee aims to continue to provide education sessions that are relevant to the clinical research community and opportunities for networking. By offering our meeting via videoconference, we hope to foster connections and partnerships with more research-based groups around the province.
Where can people find more information about the CRPBC?
More information about the CRPBC can be found at crpbc.org.
Anything else you’d like to add?
It is very exciting that the CRPBC has been recognized for 25 years of volunteer service to the clinical research community. I would like to acknowledge the founding members of “the Donut Hole” — named for the treats served at the meetings — for taking the lead to set up a group in Vancouver for clinical coordinators to network and learn about clinical research. Today, the CRPBC has connections to many groups around B.C.