Vision - Enhancing clinical research quality and safety through specialized nursing practice.

Mission - The International Association of Clinical Research Nurses is a professional nursing organization.  Its purpose is to define, validate and advance clinical research nursing as a specialty practice and to support the professional development of registered nurses who directly or indirectly impact the care of clinical research participants across all clinical specialties.

IACRN Board of Directors and Officers


Mary Jane Williams, DNP, MPH, RN, NE-BC is the nurse manager of the Clinical Research Unit at the University of Wisconsin’s academic medical center in Madison Wisconsin.  Her nursing career spans a range of research experience that began in 1988, as a research coordinator for Department of Cardiology.  Since that time Mary Jane has been in a variety of research positions that include management, regulatory, and education.  

Mary Jane began her nursing career in 1979 in medical-surgical ICU, moving later to cardiovascular critical care, and on to cardiology research.  In 2003, she became manager of the Clinical Research Unit (CRU) at UW hospital.  She earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in 2011 for Rush University – Chicago and a Master of Public Health (MPH) in 1999 from Tulane University – New Orleans.  To enhance her knowledge of research she took an additional course in Research Design and Analysis at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Missouri- St. Louis in 1994 and Associate of Science in Nursing in 1979 from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock.

Mary Jane, along with six other research nurses from across the United States, founded IACRN in 2009.  She is co-chair of the Scope and Standards of Practice Committee that recently gained ANA recognition of clinical research nursing as a specialty and resulted in ANA publishing the Clinical Research Nurse Scope and Standards of Practice

In addition to her current responsibility as manager of the CRU at UW Hospital, Mary Jane teaches Research and Evidence-based Practice at the UW School of Nursing.  She serves on the UW Nursing Research and EBP Council, Human Subjects IRB, and is presently co- investigator on a research study entitled Nurses’ Perception of Nurse-Physician Collaboration and Patterns of Communication. 


Mary E. Larkin RN, MS, CDE is the Nurse Manager and Assistant Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Research Center. She started out at the Center as a research nurse coordinator after having had experience as a hospital staff nurse and nurse educator. Once she discovered research nursing she knew she had found her life’s work. She was impressed and challenged by the autonomy, team dynamics, scientific process, creativity and problem solving required. Pairing this with the privilege to care for highly engaged research volunteers, the opportunities inherent in being part of a dynamic research team, the chance to mentor and teach new research nurses, the excitement of contributing to cutting edge science and seeing results translated into improving care for persons with diabetes never ceases to inspire her. To this day when she tells people about her work she can be heard saying “I have the best job in Boston!”

As a certified diabetes educator, research nurse and nurse investigator with years of experience in the design and conduct of clinical trials, she has earned the rank of Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. She collaborates in the planning stages of studies, contributes to the scientific validity and feasibility of the research protocol and oversees all studies and staff. In this role, she ensures effective implementation of procedures, adequate training and performance by staff, and compliance with regulatory requirements. She has assumed leadership roles in nation-wide, multi-center trials chairing coordinator committees, education committees and participating in executive and publication committees. She has published as a lead author and has lead sub and ancillary studies. She has also authored results of her own research in diabetes, effective research staffing models, and more recently on the role of the research nurse and ethical challenges experienced.

She has been a member of IACRN since inception and has been an author on posters/oral presentations at every annual meeting. She has served in leadership roles with IACRN as a Board Member at Large (2012-14), Chair of the Chapter Governance Committee (2014-16), and currently participates as a Chapter Advisor mentoring new chapters. She received the Distinguished Clinical Research Nurse Award from IACRN in 2015, truly a highlight of her career.

Locally, she has supported IACRN’s mission and vision by founding the Research Nurse Roundtable (a monthly forum for sharing best practices among research nurses at her facility), acting as the Coach of the Research and Evidence Based Practice Committee (a monthly inter-professional committee that promotes and disseminates EBP among clinicians), serving on Harvard’s Research Subject Advocacy Panel, and was founding member and first President of the Boston IACRN chapter.

She continues to be inspired by the work of IACRN and what it has already achieved. Volunteering to serve as an elected officer provides an opportunity to support an association that she feels has been visionary and innovative as the first professional association solely dedicated to advancing research nurse practice. Achieving ANA recognition was a milestone and to her a “dream come true”. If given the opportunity, she would be honored to support the growth of the association, maintain a strong international membership and presence, promote professional development of research nurses and serve an active and engaged membership. She feels that her expertise, leadership skills and passion would be well utilized by serving as President elect of IACRN in 2018.

Past President

Margaret McCabe, Ph.D., R.N., P.N.P., is the director of nursing research for medicine patient services at Boston Children’s Hospital. In this role she educates and mentors staff in the conduct of evidence-based practice (EBP) and clinical research. At the same time Dr. McCabe maintains her own program of research that focuses on using a biobehavioral framework to better understand the symptom of fatigue in children. Dr. McCabe holds a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School and has taught undergraduate and graduate nursing courses at several schools of nursing. Dr. McCabe is a founding member of the International Association for Clinical Research Nurses. Through the course of her career Dr. McCabe has worked in roles providing direct patient care, managing care units for patients participating in clinical research, educating nurses and conducting independent research.


Lisa Farinelli, MBA, RN, BSN, CCRP, OHCC is a licensed, practicing registered nurse and senior clinical nurse manager with a Master’s in Business Administration with 30+ years of clinical, research and administrative experience working in the private and public sectors. Over her career she has been honored and recognized for her achievements in Operational Excellence and Leadership. Ms. Farinelli promotes a progressive nurse praxis with an integrated theory-research-clinical practice. Her professional efforts have consistently supported excellence in patient centered care, research integrity and compliance to institutional and federal policies. Her research interests include theories and principles of motivation and other behavioral approaches in the clinical and management field of bioethics. During her career, she has held clinical and management positions including, since 2010 to present, at the National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Program.

Her leadership, experience and expertise in performing the duties described in support of IACRN’s mission serving as Treasurer are extensive and replete. In addition, her commitment to facilitate institutional as well as individual professional growth is evidenced by a successful track record of steady personal and career accomplishments conducive to this line of work.



Catherine A. Griffith, PhD, RN currently works as a Clinical Research Nurse in the Massachusetts General Hospital Translational and Clinical Research Centers, Boston, MA. Balancing both direct patient care and research protocol administration, Catherine is involved with both patient and staff education related to maintaining patient safety with protocol specific procedures. Catherine has partnered with principal investigators from MGH Allergy Associates and helps to maintain nine active pediatric peanut allergy protocols which are moving oral and epicutaneous (skin patches) immunotherapy toward open label use.

Prior to her work with the MGH Clinical Research Center, Catherine served for 12 years as Clinical Nurse Specialist for the 18-bed MGH Cardiac Surgical ICU and 36-bed Cardiac Surgical Step-down Units. She has served as Adjunct Faculty for 5 years in the University of Massachusetts second degree nursing program. Catherine earned her MSN from the MGH Institute of Health Professions, Charlestown, MA, with a specialty in adult acute care and her PhD from Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA. Catherine’s dissertation, “Frail Older Adults’ Experience of Participating in Clinical Trials,” explored qualitatively the experience of older adults who were participating in clinical trials. She maintains a continuing interest in the research experience of older adults, balancing that with her concurrent interest in pediatric peanut allergies. 

Member at Large

Candida Barlow, MSN, RN, CTN is the Director of Clinical Research for St. John Clinical Research Institute, which is a part of a health system comprised of seven hospitals with over 7,000 employees.  Mrs. Barlow has been a clinical research nurse for over 10 years and established the St. John Clinical Research Institute integrating all service lines across the health system.  She also leads the Ascension Clinical Research Steering Committee which was formed to integrate clinical research across the United States for Ascension Health Systems.

Mrs. Barlow is currently the president of the Northeastern Oklahoma local pilot chapter of the IACRN.  Mrs. Barlow has been an active member of the IACRN for the last five years and for the last three years has served on the Governance Committee working to establish local IACRN chapters to continue the growth and advancement of clinical research nursing.

Additionally Mrs. Barlow is proficient in informatics related to clinical trial conduct and has implemented clinical research electronic systems across the St. John Health System comprising seven sister hospitals and over 7000 employed physicians. Mrs. Barlow is integrating clinical research trials into the EMR system and pioneering a paperless source and regulatory document system to improve human subject protections and rigorous compliance regarding the conduct of clinical trials.

Mrs. Barlow holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Langston University and a Master of Science degree in nursing with an advanced specialty focus in clinical research from Drexel University.  Mrs. Barlow was recognized for her continued work and education in Clinical Research with a Lifelong Achievement award from Drexel University in 2012.  She also received the 2016 Nurse Research Award from the Oklahoma Nurses Association. 

Member at Large

Sheryl Forbes, MEd, BSN, RN, CCRP is a Senior Research Nurse at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.  Sheryl has worked as an oncology nurse at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for six years, three of which were spent in lymphoma research.  She has extensive experience managing clinical trials in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma containing novel agents.  In addition to practicing specialized nursing care, she is also actively involved as an elected representative in two Institutional nursing committees including the Nursing Practice Congress and the Clinical Research Nurse Committee. Her role as a representative includes evaluating clinical practice nursing standards, ensuring high standards of professionalism, and enhancing the specialty practice of the research nurse.

Sheryl received a bachelor and master’s degree from the University of Houston and a bachelor degree in nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.  She is currently in candidacy for a PhD in nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston focusing her research on enhancing the understanding of the role of the oncology research nurse.

Global Member at Large

Jonathan Roland, MS, BSN, RN. Nurse by training, my professional experience sits on many pillars. A proud, enthusiastic and dedicated member of IACRN, I strive to expand the global reach of the association through forging bridges of solid professional relationships with clinical research nurses all over the world and adamantly encouraging them to embrace the mission and vision of IACRN through chapter’s building. As co-chair of the Chapter Governance Committee (CGC), I lead by consensus to promote an engaging and inclusive participation of all my colleagues in meeting the committee’s goals and objectives. So far, the check-marks are accumulating.

Animated by the vision of IACRN, my leadership at the committee tries to instill a sense of legacy in my colleagues as I create an inviting, convivial atmosphere for productive discussions and sharing of innovative ideas. My vision as co-chair of the CGC courts a global ambition. Second to none, IACRN is the global voice of all clinical research nurses (CRN) and as such, it is imperative that we build a global network of leaders that collectively seeds its legacy as the association blossoms to a worldwide recognition. Clinical Research goes beyond local, institutional or national borders and understanding. It is a global enterprise that is expanding exponentially and I believe CRN’s knowledge and skills should parallel that trend. In such vein, IACRN should and must lead in this innovative enterprise to serve CRNs around the globe. This is part of the agenda that I intend to advocate for as a Global Member at Large if given the chance to serve on the Board of Directors.

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