After completing a rigorous, three-stage competition that included multiple choice questions, a written essay and a set of final challenges to evaluate clinical researchers’ skills in a professional setting, the PharmaTimes Clinical Researcher of the Year awards results are in: Covance employees Julianne Gardner, a senior clinical team lead (CTL) in the U.S., and Gemma Cowley, a clinical research associate I (CRA I) in the U.K., were named gold winners.
The leadership team at Covance, the drug development business of LabCorp, was thrilled to congratulate the winners, including additional silver and bronze winners and finalists from the U.S. and U.K., as well as Chile, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Belgium, Italy, Scotland, Ireland and Australia.
“In such an unprecedented year, it’s more meaningful than ever to celebrate our finalists and winners,” said Mark Morais, president of clinical operations and commercial solutions. “These colleagues represent our commitment, perseverance, and dedication to the patients and clients we serve.
“They represent a culture of rising to the occasion and embody the belief that patients can’t wait, and neither can we. Congratulations to all the finalists – we are so proud of you and together, ‘We’ve got this.’”
Meet Julianne: Clinical Trial Manager of the Year
Julianne, who was named the first place PharmaTimes 2020 Clinical Trial Manager of the Year – The Americas, started her career here approximately five years ago as a CRA I, progressed through the ranks to a CTL in May 2019 and received a promotion to senior CTL in September 2020. She was also recognized by PharmaTimes as the first place Experienced CRA of the Year – Americas in 2019.
“I’ve always known the CRA role was a stepping stone for me and that I wanted to go into the management side of things,” she said. “Once I was able to develop enough rapport with some of our CTLs who trusted me and my work, I started asking if there was anything I could help them with on a regular basis. The resulting mentorship and visibility I received into their roles was really helpful.”
Currently, as a CTL in the medical device group, she’s able to combine her scientific interest with her business acumen and develop new skills. Julianne shared that she appreciates working on global projects and collaborating with people with different viewpoints and backgrounds. She also enjoys seeing clinical trials come together from the beginning and building trust with her teams of CRAs.
Meet Gemma: Clinical Trial Administrator of the Year
Gemma, who was named the first place PharmaTimes 2020 International Clinical Trial Administrator of the Year, joined the Monitoring Excellence Academy at Covance working as a clinical trial administrator (CTA) for approximately two years before being promoted to a CRA I in a dedicated sponsor role in our Functional Service Provider (FSPx) business in July 2020.
“Having been a CTA before a CRA, I have a greater appreciation for the significance of a CTA in a clinical trial team, and how critical their work is to ensure the study is regulatory and GCP compliant,” she said. “I actually stayed in the CTA role slightly longer than our training program requires because I wanted to fully understand the role, but I always knew I would prefer to be more involved with the ‘science behind the trials’ than that role offered.”
Currently, Gemma enjoys working with the hospitals in her new CRA role, growing her understanding of medical procedures and their implications in the trials she’s managing, and working directly with investigators and clinicians.
“I can understand now,” she said, “being a CRA at the forefront of the clinical trial, how it can feel like the most significant role. However, in reality, the entire team is essential. The CTA has already undertaken a great deal of work to enable a study to be set up, and they will continue to perform significant and essential work in the background.”