A Look at PRCCI’s 1st Clinical Research Coordinator Training: Talking About its Impact & Participant’s Experience

The Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation (PRCCI) held its first Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) Training Program in Puerto Rico recently in partnership with Barnett International, a leader in clinical research training.

As a result, 26 health professionals, including physicians and nurses from public and private health care organizations and graduate students from health sciences schools received the training. Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, they held three-hour long remote weekly sessions on the Go-To meeting platform.

The training was made possible because of the extensive preparation educators received. Ten local experienced coordinators and clinical study monitors completed the training seminar and qualified themselves to assist PRCCI as trainers, in collaboration with Barnett International, in a 30 hours clinical research coordinators program in Puerto Rico.

PRCCI’s drive to hold this training comes from its mission of developing solid quality research network through various approaches, including educating and promoting patients, sponsors, investigators, and those interested in pursuing a career in the research field.

The importance of CRC Training in Puerto Rico:  

In the implementation of clinical trials, the importance of the contribution of CRCs is now widely recognized due to their various critical roles from screening and recruiting participants, overseeing the day to day operations of clinical trials and studies to collecting, recording data/ document daily operations and reporting to collecting specimens and inputs.

Now, during the pandemic, the CRC role has become even more vital when clinical research intensifies. All healthcare roles are in high demand and in the research spectrum the expertise of clinical research coordinators is needed during the pandemic and on regular basis. COVID-19 research has boosted worldwide and in Puerto Rico searching for preventive and reactive ways to fight the virus.

Participants Share Their Experience: 

Tania Avilés Andino

“We were all from different disciplines and stages of our career. It helped me learn twice as much: from the course and from my classmates.”

We had the opportunity to hear from one current CRC Aileen Rivera and Tania Avilés Andino, a science student who participated on the training and learned about their experience. This first article includes Avilés Andino, a recent Registered Nurse, with one of her practices being in the NICU during undergrad, and current Biologist with a bachelor’s degree of Biology expressing about the value of taking this training and the experience. The second article, scheduled for October, will share Aileen Rivera’s Clinical Research Coordinator for Puerto Rico Medical Research Center Comments around the training and practicing for the CRC role.

“The CRC training gave me base knowledge that has guided me towards a firmer path in my career.”explained Avilés Andino. “At the start I was unsure how I could combine nursing with this [clinical research,] but at the end of the course it proved to be a real possibility.”

Her interest in this field came from a young age—she was always passionate about the sciences.  “I’ve always been scientific, even when I was little. I had a curiosity of who was in charge of everything I interacted with in the lab and how they managed to do all of it.” she shared.

This curiosity drove her to the CRC training. She had seen a similar opportunity in the United States; however, she did not pursue it. Later on, in May, she received the email from PRCCI and took it as a sign to proceed with the training. As she immersed herself in the course, she gathered wide-ranging knowledge about the CRC role.

Receiving this training, even remotely, was beneficial in the personal context as well as the collective one. “The course was very dynamic, despite it being online because of the pandemic.” Avilés Andino said. “I can’t say a Saturday ever ended and I had doubts.” she mentioned, referencing the clarity of the discussions.

For her, “Puerto Rico needs to stay competitive in the field to provide new opportunities for Hispanic people and expand the CRC role all around the island,” which is one of PRCCI’s priorities in providing this training. The excitement was very high with the milestone providing of providing 1st clinical research coordinator training at PRCCI led by local professionals.