Career development in clinical research with Chris Lewis

Starting a career in clinical research with little or no experience can be difficult.

Equally challenging is for hiring managers to find candidates that are a cultural fit for the organization.

In this interview, I invited my close friend and mentor Chris Lewis to talk about his process of attracting, hiring, and retaining talent in clinical research. 

We talked about the future of the CRA role and what skills are needed to succeed in today’s marketplace.  

Chris has over 20 years’ experience leading teams and managing clinical trials in the medical device, biotech, and pharma industry.  

At IntersectENT, he serves as Vice President, Clinical and is responsible for developing and managing clinical programs.  

Chris graduated from the University of Louisiana, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology and an M.S. degree from George Washington University.

During his spare time, Chris enjoys vacationing in our national parks with his family, trail running, camping, and pretty much every other outdoor activity under the sun.

Please join me in welcoming Chris Lewis on the Clinical Trial Podcast. 

Chris Lewis on LinkedIn

  • [01:52] Chris unconventional path to clinical research career 
  • [02:38] Journey from research coordinator to vice president 
  • [03:18] Impact of rise in technology, remote monitoring and risk based monitoring on the CRA’s role
  • [05:49] Who is responsible for proctoring clinical trial cases? CRA or Field Clinical Engineer (FCE)
  • [06:49] Importance of relationship management, technical expertise, problem solving skills and staying calm in the operating room  
  • [08:05] Building interpersonal skills through partnership and collaboration
  • [09:34] Consolidation of electronic systems and access to sites 
  • [12:25] Process of hiring, interviewing and finding right talent
  • [14:31] Leveraging social media (LinkedIn) and internal human resources systems for hiring
  • [16:12] Getting to know someone through their hobbies, mannerisms, eager to learn, work hard, and ability to getting along with the rest of the team
  • [18:03] The importance and process for having difficult conversations  
  • [22:53] Getting the new job posted 
    • Creating clear job description
    • Making a request for requisition
    • Getting it approved through HR and executive
  • [23:29] Making an offer
    • Confirm with HR is the requisition is still valid 
    • Obtain executive approval stage
    • Clean communication between the candidate and hiring manager throughout the process 
  • [25:58] Onboarding new employees needs to be planned 
    • Create an onboarding plan
    • Clearly articulate and set expectations
    • Training Plan
    • Assign a mentor/ buddy (not their manager)
    • Weekly meetings 
    • Access to systems
  • [28:34] Providing ongoing leadership and management 
  • [32:33] Core skills i.e. soft skills needed for a  clinical research professionals
    • How to get along with people and see their viewpoints 
    • How to manage a challenging situation
  • [36:30] You don’t need two years of experience to get a job in clinical research 
  • [38:03] Getting into clinical research career with no experience
    • Getting a masters degree in clinical research 
    • Making contacts and exploring LinkedIn
  • [39:19] How does living on the farm impact Chris’s life at work ?
  • [41:00] Take control of your career, have patience, get your manager to understand your career aspirations

Resources Mentioned

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