Georgia CTSA Creates Online Learning and Career Development System for Clinical Research Professionals

professionals looking at a laptop screen

Purposeful training and ongoing career support are necessary to meet the evolving and expanding roles of clinical research professionals (CRP). To address the training and employment needs of clinical research coordinators (CRCs), one of the largest sectors of the CRP workforce, the Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance (Georgia CTSA) designed, developed, and implemented an online career navigation system, eMPACTTM (eMpowering Purposeful Advancement of Careers and Training).

In a new paper in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, lead author Ikseon Choi, PhD, Co-Director, Georgia CTSA Translational Workforce Development, Emory, demonstrates the strong interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration in creating eMPACT, and Georgia CTSA’s commitment to serving the translational research workforce.

“The core value of eMPACT is to support a clinical research professional’s career advancement through tailored training. eMPACT fundamentally differs from other job-hunting tools because we designed eMPACT to empower individuals to access and reflect on necessary career information to navigate and advance their careers,” explains Dr. Choi.

Georgia CTSA’s goal for eMPACT was to develop a practical approach to workforce training that satisfied organizational needs for a competent workforce while simultaneously supporting employees’ career goals related to advancement as clinical research professionals.

eMPACT allows CRCs to navigate tailored training and job opportunities by completing their task competencies and career goals. The early dissemination results show steady growth in registered CRCs and diversity in users’ ethnicity and job levels.

Since the launch of eMPACT, there have been over 3,500 visits between October 2022 and December 2023. Approximately 30% of the visits have been from Georgia. Over 330 visitors are registered users, with 89% identified as Clinical Research Coordinators.

Current users of the eMPACT career development system have remarked:

  • “eMPACT has been a game-changer for me. The platform's innovative approach to career development has opened doors I never thought possible. The personalized guidance and diverse opportunities have empowered me to navigate my career path with confidence. Through eMPACT, I have been able to change my job position from a Clinical Research Coordinator II to a Clinical Research Coordinator III.” Alisha M.
  • “eMPACT exceeded my expectations in every way. As a user, I found the platform to be a treasure trove of valuable resources, free continuing education courses, and tailored insights. It not only guided me towards meaningful career choices, but it also connected me with a supportive community.” Jordan C.

Early dissemination results of eMPACT show its potential to help understand the CRC workforce and support its diversity. This service demonstrates the possibility of supporting CRCs’ individual career advancement, organizational workforce enhancement, and diversity. Empowering CRCs to access career information and reflect and make decisions on their career will enhance CRCs’ career identity and professionalization for sustained growth of the CRC workforce. Future plans include expanding the eMPACT service to other CRP sectors.

“eMPACT offers an exciting way to support and develop our large number of research professionals who support investigators in implementing research projects throughout the Georgia CTSA and beyond. The best assurance of the quality of the research we do is investment in the staff who make our work possible,” says Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, Georgia CTSA Translational Workforce Development Director and Dean, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory.

The paper, Conceptualization, Development, and Early Dissemination of eMPACT: A Competency-based Career Navigation System for Translational Research Professionals, was published online on December 11, 2023, in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science

Visit the eMPACT website to sign up for a free account! Watch this video for more information. 

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eMPACT™ is a trademark jointly owned by the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. and Emory University.