Living and working in Peru, Dr. José Torres, M.D., used his educational degrees and certificates as building blocks in his career. After completing medical school and his surgical training, Dr. Torres pursued an M.B.A. with a specialty in applied sciences, assumed teaching roles, and eventually came to supervise research and teaching within a health care system. But it was the networking he did at UC San Diego Extension’s Latin American Clinical Trials Workshop that helped him secure a CEO title and the means with which to launch a clinical investigations site in Peru.
“Undoubtedly, the workshop changed the course of my career,” Dr. Torres says, having attended the intensive in San Diego in 2013. There, Dr. Torres met the chief of operations of BRCR Global who invited him to visit the site management organization in Florida. On this follow-up visit, Dr. Torres learned more about the BRCR and presented a business plan, proposing to open a site in the Lima province of Peru. Within the year, he launched the center in South America as its executive director.
Now CEO of BRCR Peru, he oversees three network centers, with more than 300 patients participating in clinical studies in pulmonology, endocrinology, and nephrology. Two months ago, BRCR Peru was designated a clinical research organization (CRO). “We have designed more than 60 observational studies and will soon begin to implement them,” he shares.
“There are no programs in South America that compare to the programs UC San Diego Extension offers,” Dr. Torres says. “The prestige of UCSD in the field of clinical research, the faculty, and the structure and curriculum of the workshop make this a ‘must-do’ for those who want to devote themselves full-time to clinical research.”
Taught in Spanish, the Clinical Trials workshop will be offered May 26 – 27, 2016, attracting students from across Latin America and immersing them in regulatory and safety protocols to manage the field’s explosive growth in the region. “This course helps professionals from Latin America stay apprised of constantly changing international guidelines,” says program director Dr. Leonel Villa-Caballero, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, “as well as patient protection directives, new monitoring technologies, recruitment strategies and emerging regulatory concerns.” Expert faculty members cover the following topics:
Introduction to International Clinical Trials
Drug Development and Medical Devices
Ethics and IRBs in Clinical Research
Regulatory Issues in Latin America
Good Clinical Practices
Contract Research Organizations
Professional Standards and Fraud Prevention
Dr. Torres’ favorite aspects were the sessions devoted to nuts and bolts – best-practice processes and procedures that helped him develop a clinical research study center. In addition to live lectures, the workshop features small-group learning that promotes professional networking. “I especially liked interacting with colleagues from other countries, hearing about their experiences and challenges in various areas of research,” Dr. Torres shared.
Dr. Torres took UC San Diego Extension’s online certificate courses as well, footing the travel expenses for the in-person intensive as an “investment” in his professional life. For him, clinical research is much more than “a marginal activity or an accessory to medicine.” As clinical investigations expand across Latin America, Dr. Torres says, “the professionalization of this subspecialty is important. Delving into it, as this workshop inspired me to do, many professionals will be able to bring innovative proposals to bear in their countries.”
The Clinical Trials in Latin America Intensive Workshop will be held at UC San Diego Extension’s Mission Valley location. The fee for the course is $595.00.