Carla G. Perna, BS, CCRP, recently reflected on her career and lessons learned as she advanced from research assistant to program director, and on the importance of staying on your toes.
Q: What advice do you have for clinical research professionals on how to advance their careers?
A: Get your degree; get certified! Pick a focus and stay on your toes. The research landscape is in perpetual motion; continued education is important to stay up to date. Use your networks and attend conferences whenever possible.
Q: As you think about the future generation of clinical research professionals, what are some of your most important lessons learned?
A: Investing in your continued education is the most important thing you can do for yourself. The time and commitment can be challenging, but the rewards are immeasurable. Be prepared for a changing environment. Successful clinical research professionals must be open minded and flexible; we must be steadfast in assuring that our research ethics and principles are not challenged. Clinical research is a very rewarding career. I am so grateful to go to work every day with a purpose. Our patients are the heroes of future generations.
Perna has risen to program director for budget, regulatory, and finance matters with the University of Alabama’s Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Clinical Studies Unit. She was interviewed by Beth D. Harper, MBA, president of Clinical Performance Partners and a member of the ACRP Editorial Advisory Board.