UC Davis partners with community group to help fill research jobs

group of people working together

UC Davis partners with community group to help fill research jobs

Greater Sacramento Urban League to assist with expansion of the Clinical Research Coordinator program


The UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) has teamed up with the Greater Sacramento Urban League to help boost employment in the fast growing field of clinical research staffing.

A Clinical Research Coordinator, or CRC, helps manage clinical trials at UC Davis Health. The job, which doesn’t require a college degree, is in high demand: Job postings are growing at an annual rate of more than 9%, which isn’t keeping up with the higher-than-12% increase in the volume of clinical trials.

The city of Sacramento recently awarded the CTSC a grant to expand UC Davis’ workforce development program called Join the Team, which seeks to increase the number of CRCs and diversify the clinical research workforce.

The $250,000 grant is part of a state initiative called Californians For All, which promotes employment for youth, especially in “economic zones” where it can be difficult to access viable employment pathways.

UC Davis Health conducts more than 2,000 scientific studies at any given time, and CRCs are an integral part of the research process. Some CRCs consider the job a pathway to careers in science and medicine.

“The CTSC developed the Join the Team program to address a shortage of qualified CRCs,” said Kate Marusina, director of CTSC Clinical Trials Office. “CRCs play a key role in clinical trials. Their work requires a wide array of knowledge and skills to navigate the therapeutic, regulatory and logistical complexities.”

Join the Team, which was developed by the CTSC, is a comprehensive, STEM-based workforce development program that features 20 weeks of paid training. The hybrid program includes lectures, in-class activities, field trips and hands-on experiences such as job shadowing, among other components.

It’s the only training program of its kind in Northern California.

“Residents of Sacramento have a unique chance to participate in the Join the Team training,” Marusina said.

The program is recognized and commended by national bodies, including the Association for Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) and the Society for Clinical Research Sites. In 2023, the training program received a prestigious award from the Society for Clinical Research Sites.

The recent grant provided by Sacramento, in partnership with the Urban League, is expected to provide an economic boost for people living in local neighborhoods that have been set back by racial inequalities.

Training in partnership with Greater Sacramento Urban League

The new grant will allow the CTSC to partner with the non-profit Greater Sacramento Urban League, which will identify and select candidates for the new training cohort. There will be a particular emphasis on people who live near Aggie Square, the new UC Davis hub for innovation and research that is under construction along Stockton Boulevard.

Training program flyer

Selected applicants will undergo the CTSC’s 200-hour in-person professional training program. The training combines an academic curriculum developed by ACRP with UC Davis Health content. The training also offers internship and shadowing opportunities at UC Davis Health clinical research departments.

Students will attend workshops on a variety of clinical research-related topics. They will learn about the Institutional Review Board (IRB), compliance, recruitment, contracts, Investigational Drug Pharmacy, among other topics. Students will receive a stipend during their training to cover standard daily living expenses.

“Over the past two years, 23 community students have graduated from the program,” Marusina said. Around 70% of them found meaningful careers in clinical research or healthcare. We hope more people will get to benefit from this amazing opportunity.”

Anyone interested in applying for the program should complete the application online. For questions, contact Kate Marusina: kmarusina@ucdavis.edu or 916-703-9177.