Title: Center Administrator
Company: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Location: Birmingham, AL United States
Driven by her passion for research and her desire to help people in need, Carla Perna has spent years serving the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She started with the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center as a regulatory manager and quickly moved up to become the director of adult oncology clinical trials. In March 2016, she transitioned to become the administrator of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine. This center is focused on improving the health and well-being of children and adults of all ages through interdisciplinary research, the training of future leaders in science and health care, and community education based on clinical research findings. It is also home to the Rehabilitation Research Resource to Enhance Clinical Trials (REACT) Center, which acts as a national resource that provides the medical rehabilitation research community with knowledge, skills and tools for high-impact, interdisciplinary clinical trials.
Ms. Perna enjoys the opportunities her position brings. As a non-clinical director working in the medical industry, it was difficult for her to earn the respect of traditional minded clinicians and physicians. She is proud that her patience and perseverance has led to her recognition as a clinical research leader. Ms. Perna especially enjoys mentoring other women working in health care professions. She hopes that sharing her learning experiences and leadership skills will encourage other women to move into management positions in the future. She is inspired by her strong-willed and sharp-witted maternal great-grandmother who taught her resiliency and kindness, her mother who taught her age cannot stop your career dreams, and her former boss, Lanie Ward, who taught her how to effectively lead and manage people.
As a testament to her success, Ms. Perna is frequently asked to speak nationally about clinical trial operations and management. She also earned The CEO’s Leadership Award from Broward General Medical Center, where she previously served as a research associate in pediatric and adult oncology research.
Ms. Perna prepared for her career by earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Nova Southeastern University, where she graduated magna cum laude, and becoming a certified clinical research associate (CCRA) and a certified clinical research professional (CCRP). She also stays on top of the field through her affiliations with the Association of Clinical Research Professionals and the Society of Clinical Research Associates. Furthermore, Ms. Perna is a member of The International Women’s Leadership Association, and supports the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the Children’s Hospital of Alabama.
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