2014 has been, and continues to be, a busy and groundbreaking year for CARRA as we continue to grow as an organization in a variety of ways: Both membership and sponsorship are up and research coordinators have joined as official members under the Research Associate membership category. We hosted the Annual CARRA Meeting in Orlando, immediately prior to the PRSYM meeting in April, welcoming the most members ever.
For the first time we supported the attendance of pediatric residents and for the second year we supported the attendance of the Research Associate Advisory Committee (RAAC). We plan to maintain and expand both programs moving forward. This newsletter includes reports by the chair of each research committee about their activities. I hope this will help us all stay up to date on what is going on with the committees we don’t regularly attend.
Another rousing success at the Annual Meeting was the Fellows Committee meeting which attracted over 50 participants! This committee makes up the future of CARRA and it is exciting to see the collaboration, leadership, and energy generated by the group. In addition to these activities, a particular highlight was the poolside reception with terrific sushi!
And there are other significant changes. As many of you know, CARRA has incorporated as CARRA, Inc. with creation of a Board of Directors and officers as well as hiring of an accountant and legal representation! We have also filed for 501c3 nonprofit status. Read the article by Rob Fuhlbrigge, Finance Committee Chair and CARRA, Inc. Treasurer, about these activities. Rob has done a terrific job with Vaishali Tenkale to identify an accountant, figure out what insurance we need, and plan how to pay our bills!
As part of our growth, there are changes upcoming in the operations of our organization including a search for a new Executive Director. We are moving our home base out of Stanford in favor of a virtual office based wherever the Steering Committee Chair/President is located. As a result, Vaishali Tenkale left CARRA on June 13,
2014, after over a decade of hard work. Carol Wallace has written a piece about Vaishali that you can find in this newsletter as well. Arisa Kapedani, based at Montefiore, also completed her work with CARRA as she went out on leave for the birth of her first child. The CARRA Executive Team thanks them both for all their efforts in support of CARRA – it is hard to imagine moving forward without them. Sheffa Ariens has joined the CARRA team as Director of Operations and is based in Durham, NC. She comes to us with 15 years of experience in marketing and project management at non-profits and science-based startups, based in the San Francisco Bay Area before she moved to Durham last year. As part of her initial efforts, she has secured our very own CARRA email addresses, phone and fax numbers. Moving forward, Sheffa is your contact for all membership related questions and activities. She can be reached at [email protected] and by phone at (800) 377-5731, ext. 1.
One familiar face that continues to be around but in a new position is Kelly Mieszkalski. Kelly will be transitioning from working primarily with the CARRA Registry and CTPs to a position as the Director of Research for CARRA as Registry funding is secured. In her new role she will continue to work with the Research Associate Advisory Committee, and also lead efforts in research training, biorepository development, and data and sample use processes.
The nationwide search for a new Executive Director will launch June 16. All applications will be vetted by Sheffa and I who will present strong candidates to the steering committee to consider. The steering committee will present a slate of three ranked candidates to the Board of Directors who will lead negotiations with the chosen candidate. You can find the job description on the CARRA website once it is finalized.
Please spread the word and encourage exceptional candidates that you know to apply. We hope to have the new director in place by the end of 2014. So lots of changes. And change makes for stress, anxiety, and excitement! As we grow, it is crucial that members take responsibility for communicating with each other. The executive team is determined to improve our communication with members, but we can only be successful if members read the newsletters and emails that are sent out, respond to queries and surveys, self-nominate for open leadership positions, and vote!
We also ask that you communicate any concerns and suggestions to members of the executive or steering committees. We are developing a formal communications plan and if you are interested in helping with this or just have suggestions to make, please contact Sheffa or any of us. The best ideas, like the idea for a Fellow Committee, come from you!
Please help us make this your organization.
Laura Schanberg, MD