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The Front Line
The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair

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SWOG's new Training Manager

July 4, 2014 - Educating to enhance member skills and ensure consistently high quality in all elements of our clinical trials has long been a core component of SWOG operations. As trials become more complex, though, the need for targeted training has increased, and in addition to the role-specific training modules we now have -- for study chairs, site-level principal investigators, committee chairs, and more -- we're developing modules for trial-specific training, such as a module for the new S1400 Lung-MAP study.

In our NCTN grant application last year (and our NCORP application this year), we made the argument for support for a new staff position to expand our educational offerings and better evaluate their impact. That proposal was reviewed positively, and late in 2013 we hired SWOG's first Training Manager, Mark Schofield.

Mark has a master's degree in education, an extensive background in curriculum development, and years of experience in corporate training. Given that the vast majority of our training is delivered online, we need someone who can also wrestle the technology issues to the ground; Mark has broad information technology development experience. And having served in IT support with the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at UT San Antonio, former administrative home to SWOG, he had already worked with SWOG staff and was familiar with our mission.

I visited our Operations Office earlier this week and got a chance to sit down with Mark to discuss his vision for meeting SWOG's training needs. It's an exciting one that includes standardizing (and upgrading!) the format and delivery of training modules online, automating the certification process, collaborating with SWOG members and staff to develop and update curriculum, and guiding the rollout of a new online Learning Management System, or LMS (more on this in an upcoming column).

In a knowledge economy, education is currency. Mark's our new central bank director. Get to know him, and think about what deposits and withdrawals you want to make.


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