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Erin Sanderford

Clinical Research Associate

Can you provide a brief overview of your job responsibilities? My role as a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) involves serving as a liaison between pharmaceutical companies and the clinical site staff conducting clinical trials at their respective hospitals/clinics. I oversee the execution of clinical trials and conduct regular site visits, both virtually and physically, to ensure proper progress and record-keeping on part of the clinical site.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your industry? What lessons or learnings have you added to your professional toolbox as a result? Initially, the pandemic took a big hit on drug development. New clinical trials that were in the start-up phase were put on hold, as hospitals did not want to bring in patients for research purposes, especially if there was a placebo arm. For trials that were continuing through the pandemic, we were noticing a large number of deviations from protocol, patients being lost to follow-up, additional workload caused by screening for COVID-19, to name a few. The COVID-19 outbreak was hindering the progress and quality of clinical trials. We learned to adapt to this new normal and began conducting remote monitoring visits, express delivery of drugs, home visits for trial participants, and telephone follow-up visits. Through the pandemic, I have learned to adapt and be flexible. I have learned to communicate more efficiently as our working environments shifted to remote.

What do you believe have been some of your greatest personal and professional accomplishments? Is there a goal toward which you are currently working? One of my greatest professional accomplishments was passing the standardized CCRA (Certified Clinical Research Associate) exam. The CCRA credential is “awarded to a CRA who has met eligibility requirements, demonstrated proficiency of specific knowledge and job-related skills, and passed the standardized ACRP CRA Certification Exam.” While having this certification in the clinical research field is not required for most positions, it has provided enormous benefits in expanding my knowledge and understanding in the field and gives me confidence in my abilities to successfully complete daily tasks. I strive to continue to make myself a more valuable employee.

How do the values or skills you learned at Camp show up in your everyday work and/or personal life? The values and skills learned at Camp are carried with you well beyond the gates. Camp built my self-confidence and helped me to be the best version of myself. In my professional life, I have used my confidence to lead others and speak in front of groups. Camp allowed me to develop problem-solving and leadership skills that I continue to use on a daily basis. Camp taught me how to work as a team and develop important communication skills.

Is there a person or a situation that had a huge influence on you while you were at Camp? How and why did they/it impact you? My CILT summer was the most impactful summer of all my years at Camp. From this experience, I was given the tools and support needed to build confidence in myself. I developed leadership skills and learned to take initiative. Christie Jennison, my cabin counselor at the time, was a big influence in making that summer so special. Thirteen years later and we are still close friends. Seafarer friends truly are friends forever!

Favorite Camp meal: chicken patty sandwich

Favorite mess hall entry song: Love Story by Taylor Swift

Favorite special event at Camp: 4th of July

Do you have a hidden talent? I can twist my tongue to form a three-leaf clover shape

What would you eat if you could only have one food for the rest of your life? Ice cream!