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Inaugural conference seeks to advance clinical trials in Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin Clinical Research Office, a partnership between UW Health and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, is hosting the inaugural Wisconsin Collaborative Clinical Research Professionals Conference Oct. 5 at the Discovery Building on the UW–Madison campus.

The free statewide conference is organized in collaboration with the Wisconsin Chapter of the Society of Clinical Research Associates and the Wisconsin Chapter of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals and includes planning members from Marshfield Clinic and Froedtert Health, and industry partner, Neurotech. The event will provide opportunities for clinical research professionals to engage with one another, as well as students, community leaders and industry, including representatives from Epic Systems and Exact Sciences.

This is an opportunity to work together, across organizations and with industry partners, to bring Wisconsin to the forefront as an important player in the clinical trials landscape, according to Betsy Nugent, chief clinical research officer, UW Health and UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

“The pandemic really highlighted the importance of clinical trials, so this event will aim to build upon that momentum to help make Wisconsin an even stronger force for clinical research and healthcare innovation,” she said.

In addition to a range of Wisconsin-based experts, the conference will feature two nationally recognized speakers in clinical research. Brad Hightower is CEO of the Oklahoma-based Hightower Clinical. He has worked with clinical research sites for almost 15 years and is an advocate for clinical research through his “Note to File” podcast. The keynote address will be delivered by Ricki Fairley, CEO of the Maryland-based Touch, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance. Fairley has made it her life’s work to combat breast cancer in the Black community and, among her many efforts, founded the When we Tri(al) movement to increase the participation of Black women in clinical trials and help improve outcomes for women struggling with the disease.

“It’s exciting to bring all of these innovative thinkers, of various experiences and backgrounds together, in-person, to exchange ideas, discuss the challenges we face and highlight the opportunities that lie ahead for clinical research,” Nugent said. “We’ve all been on a unique journey the past couple of years, so this will be a chance to collaboratively reflect and identify steps to advance discovery that will help improve health for the people of Wisconsin and beyond.”

The conference is free and open to all. Registration information is available at https://uwclinicaltrials.org/event/wccrpc/.