CUMBERLAND, MD – It's been smooth biking so far for the ACRP Ride4DEI team as they wrapped up day three yesterday (May 16) en route from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, D.C. in an effort to raise money and awareness promoting diversity on all levels in clinical trials.
But obstacles loom for the plucky bikers, says Sergio Armani, ACRP Ride4DEI Creator, and EVP, Business Development, Helios Clinical Research. “Day four could be rough,” he says, citing a bad weather report full of precipitation which could translate into nasty mud during their 65-mile segment of the journey. Oh, and don’t forget the rockslide.
“We’ll be pushing our bikes up a steep one-mile mountain in Paw Paw, West Virginia because the tunnel was closed due to rockslide,” Sergio says. “We’re eating a lot of carbs at an Italian restaurant tonight to fuel ourselves,” he adds with a laugh.
Joining Armani this year are David Morin, MD, FACP, CPI, FACRP, Director of Research, Holston Medical Group, and Scott Chatterton, Senior Director of Business Development at Javara Research.
Now in its third year, the ride “raises money and keeps the conversation going” about promoting diversity in clinical trials, Sergio says.
“We’re thrilled to support this important cause and this exciting ride,” said Paul Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer at Velocity, a sponsor this year. “Clinical trials thrive on inclusion at all levels, be it participants, the workforce, or within the healthcare community at large. Sergio, Dave, and Scott are putting their biking pedal to the metal to financially and emotionally fuel and promote the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Sergio thanks supporters both for helping the cause financially and with their enthusiasm along the way. “We’re getting text messages and hearing from people on LinkedIn as we ride, and it’s really inspiring all three of us,” Sergio says.
The annual fundraiser supports clinical researchers from diverse backgrounds by providing scholarships that result in professional growth and development. This year it's scheduled to end May 20 in Washington D.C. near ACRP headquarters, after covering 365 miles from Pittsburgh to the final destination.
Armani and team are already mulling the 2024 ride by adding a few twists. “We’re seriously considering changing the route next year,” and instead going from New York City to Albany, NY and on to either Buffalo NY, or Montreal, Canada. “We’ve also had some interest from female riders, and we hope to recruit some additional diversity in our riding team, too,” Sergio says.
The 2023 ride has an ambitious fundraising goal of $120,000. As of May 16, Sergio says they’d eclipsed $80,000, putting them ahead of last year’s pace. “I like where we are in terms of fundraising,” he says. “The industry is really rallying to support this worthy cause.”
Donations will be collected through its partner platform, RallyUp. Donations for 2023 will be allocated to scholarships, including attendance at ACRP’s annual conference, for entry-level clinical research professionals from diverse communities. Last year, more than 80 individual and corporate donors contributed $63,675 in donations. The funds supported more than 20 scholarships to ACRP’s annual conference, as well as development of ACRP’s ‘Ready, Set, Clinical Research!’™ toolkit designed to support stakeholders with a vested interest in the growth and diversification of the clinical research workforce.