Amy Jo Jenkins, right, local chapter chairwoman of the Society of Clinical Research Associates, accepts an award on behalf of the chapter in September from Jason Jones, then president of the society's national organization.
Oct. 23, 2012 | Without even knowing it, the founders of the Arkansas Chapter of the Society of Clinical Research Associates exceeded expectations and won an international award in the process.
The international SoCRA organization in late September in Las Vegas recognized the local chapter, founded in 2011 at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), for offering the most continuing education credits in a year with 26.
In 2011, the previous winner, a Japanese chapter, had offered 15. Amy Jo Jenkins, chapter co-chairwoman, said she was told they had smashed through the one-year record.
Members need 45 hours of classroom time every three years to maintain their Certified Clinical Research Professional status through SoCRA.
No chapter existed in the state until the August 2011 founding, so members had to earn credits piecemeal through online classes, conferences and correspondence courses.
“There wasn’t anything for anyone in Arkansas,” Jenkins said. “We had to go to Dallas or Tennessee or pay a lot of money to get this. This organization provides free education. That’s how we got started and why.”
Attendance at the classes has ranged between 20 and 30, and about 18 recently sat for a certification test Arkansas SoCRA Chapter hosted. Two years of clinical research experience are needed before someone can take the examination for certification.
UAMS does not provide funds to the chapter, and although it is not an official university organization, UAMS has been a huge help by providing meeting space, teleconferencing service when needed and general encouragement, Jenkins said. The university’s Office of Research Compliance has assisted by letting SoCRA members participate in classes the office already was offering through its own education program.
“It really is almost a merger of everything that was going on previously but getting the word out to everybody who might want to come,” she said.
The chapter hopes in 2013 to offer some classes at night and even at some off-campus locations to provide better access to clinical research associates outside UAMS.
“We’re real excited, and we’re on track to do the same or more this next year,” Jenkins said.