This is an opinion piece by Jenna Celmer, Stakeholder Engagement Manager for the PCC.
Why is the Partnership for Clean Competition a global leader in anti-doping research? I could go on for days, but one of the biggest reasons is we have amassed the best experts in the field to oversee, vet, and direct the anti-doping projects we fund.
The PCC’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meets three times annually to discuss the funding applications obtained through our formal grant cycles. The most recent meeting was held May 23rd and 24th in Chicago, and as the PCC’s newest employee it was my first opportunity to see our board in action.
I was impressed.
Three aspects made the meeting, as well as the scientific operation of the PCC, successful: passion, diversity, and expertise.
Buy in from your stakeholders is important. Buy in from your board members is paramount. I have been involved with many boards wherein the impetus for membership is prestige, career advancement, or worst of all – obligation. The PCC, however, is quite fortunate to retain board members motivated by a passion for facilitating clean sport and protecting clean athletes through science.
In this case, passion translates to engagement – engagement with emerging PCC strategy, new anti-doping talent, and the scientific field. When challenges in the field were discussed – for example, recruiting and retaining young talent within the anti-doping research sphere – board members were quick to not only suggest methods for improving and supplementing our current Fellowship Program, but also volunteered to take on roles outside of the meeting which brought us closer to meeting strategic goals in this arena.
Our board members also act as the ambassadors to our organization, circulating information regarding our grants and events to their own circles and generating interest as only experts and influencers can.
Despite exceptionally busy schedules, this commitment to the PCC’s interests is a tremendous advantage.
While a deep responsibility to the scientific pursuit of clean sport drives our SAB, it is a variable collection of applicable skills that truly engenders effectiveness.
Diversity within PCC research is exceptionally important. We encourage collaborative team science through our working group program in part to ensure representation from myriad scientific disciplines, global regions, and backgrounds. Luckily, similarly diverse representation can be seen on our advisory board.
The SAB is made up of advisors with both MD’s and PhD’s, hailing from a number of different scientific specialties (ranging from hematology to endocrinology to the study of androgens) at differing stages of career. We are fortunate to receive input from members working directly with sporting leagues, experts on lab practices and studies, former athletes, and practicing medical practitioners.
The result of such a motley crew is a dynamic and holistic look at the grant projects and industry challenges which face the SAB. Questions generated from lab directors differ from those asked by biochemists or athletes – and more diversity of every kind means more (and better) answers.
The SAB is a well-rounded yet cooperative team. And much of their value lies precisely in that fact.
While a diverse and passionate board are integral pieces to the PCC’s success, they are nothing without the necessary scientific knowledge to guide our research priorities and funding strategy. An ability to identify and channel focus to the critical issues facing anti-doping is vital to good governance, and a main factor in meeting the PCC’s mission. One needs only to visit our leadership page bios (visit now!) to understand the achievements, skill and profound knowledge base of the SAB – and those are just a sampling.
Our Scientific Advisory Board has earned their significant know-how over years of working within the anti-doping and related fields and their mastery shows. You will not find a more credible team within the scientific sphere of anti-doping research.
To be fair…
Behind the scenes, there are many other reasons the PCC’s Scientific Advisory Board is able to contribute meaningfully to our mission, including maintaining contact (and interest!) between meetings (both with staff and each other), not being afraid to ask tough questions or challenge the status quo during meetings, and maintaining a sense of humor and camaraderie during breaks and social times that bonds the group. However, the trifecta that is enthusiasm, heterogeneity, and genius truly drives the success of the PCC.
And I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from them.