Keeping Skills Sharp For CRAs

The drug industry is evolving and clinical trials are becoming more complex. How do CRAs in a large global company keep their skills up to date? Recognizing that large group meetings are costly and virtual training feels impersonal, Covance decided to address this challenge with an innovative model called CLIK: Country Leadership Imparting Knowledge.

With selected leaders identified from each of the 70+ countries that Covance serves, the CLIK program brings CRAs face-to-face to share their experiences, gain new knowledge and then serve as training representatives for peers in their own regional teams.

Enabling critical thinking

The CLIK curriculum isn’t a standard training. CLIK was developed by gathering input from subject matter experts across all business areas, focusing on how to develop critical thinking skills and facilitate crucial conversation.

Participants in the training discuss how to define and apply the responsibilities of CRAs as Site Managers, prepare CRAs for more productive and efficient monitoring visits and integrate best practices to quickly identify issues, recognize trends and implement appropriate resolutions.

Building the team spirit

Even though the participants at CLIK cover a lot of material in these intensive meetings, the format is very interactive, emphasizing less teaching and more teamwork through discussions and brainstorming.

“At CLIK, we shared a lot of experiences,” said Jennifer Coelho Martins, Clinical Research Associate. “It was a good way to meet my Covance colleagues and develop a team spirit.”

This genuine camaraderie was also noticed by Bernhard Dodell, Head of Clinical Trial Operations, Europe-South, Middle East and North Africa as he visited several meetings. “The teams are really having a great time, laughing and engaging with one another,” he said.

“There is a great deal of connectedness that occurs when everyone is going through the same program,” explained Dodell. “And yet, the country heads who are leading the sessions can tailor their programs based on cultural differences and language preferences. It’s an ideal approach for a growing, global company like Covance.”

Making smart investments

Managing the many roles involved in the clinical trial process isn’t easy as laws and regulations shift, stressing the importance of equipping CRAs with the right tools to ensure clinical trials run smoothly.

“CLIK represents a major investment in training – one that we know will reap substantial returns,” said Rosalinda Piccolo, Associate Director, Global Learning, Business Operations Management. “CLIK training imparts vital knowledge, enables our employees to engage with their country heads and provides a forum for them to connect with each other – even those that work quite remotely.”

With training and career development as an ongoing initiative at Covance, the CLIK program will continue to bring CRA leaders together to share strategies, discuss issues and ultimately improve the conduct and efficiency in clinical trials. To learn more about life at Covance and how you can grow in your career as a CRA, please visit our CRA careers website at

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