At the STARR Coalition dinner in Boca Raton last Wednesday evening, individuals from sponsor companies, CROs, sites and advocacy groups came together to discuss advancing the coalition’s mission.  Founded by Carol Witham and Luke Kramer, the STARR Coalition, the mission of which is to create meaningful change by increasing communication, partnerships and goodwill among stakeholders in the areas of treatment, advocacy, and clinical research with emphasis on consumers and patients’ mental health well-being.”

Following a series of productive presentations and work group discussions, Luke Kramer presented several awards to organizations that have contributed substantially and embraced the coalition’s short and long-term goals.

The final award presented was the “Sustained Commitment Award” which Kramer explained was centered around forming and maintaining long-term, sustained relationships.  He began the presentation by saying “You want people to not only engage the community, you not only want them to engage other partners, but you want this type of relationship to be sustained, you want it to last for a long time, you want it to develop and grow.”  He went on to say “we have actually seen this in this particular group and we want to give a “Sustained Commitment Award” to Woodland International Research Group.”

Ashley Poole, Site Director at Woodland International Research Group, a subsidiary of Evolution Research Group accepted the award, thanking Luke, Carol and the STARR Coalition for this prestigious award.  Ms. Poole commented “We are very proud of the relationships that we have with the advocacy groups in our community and I think that with the STARR Coalition we can continue to enhance those relationships and hopefully help other research sites that didn’t have those relationships build them.”  She continued by saying “Hopefully, we can get the messaging consistent and get the word out there so patients know that research is an option for them.”

Other awards were presented to Alkermes, Premier and Segal Institute during what was a great evening for stakeholder collaboration.  During his acceptance speech, Dr. William Martin of Alkermes referred to the attendees in the room as “a collection of talented individuals” and “the can-do group”, indicating that he was looking forward to collaborating with everyone to “help engender change in terms of mental health, well-being and working towards a goal of ultimately making patients’ lives better.”

Overall, the evening was an enormous success and encouraging to witness the dedication of all stakeholders to continue to support the goals of the STARR Coalition.


Ashley Poole accepted the award on behalf of WIRG.