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Sally Okun

Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) appoints executive director
October 20, 2021
Sally Okun
Durham, N.C.—October 11, 2021—The Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI), a public-private partnership co-founded by Duke University and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), today announced Sally Okun as its new executive director.

"Sally's wealth of experience, distinct perspective, and passion for driving change uniquely position her as the ideal leader for CTTI at this particular time," said Mark McClellan, chair of CTTI's executive committee and director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. "Throughout her career, she has brought the patient voice to many audiences in the public and private sectors in the U.S. and globally, and also emphasized the critical importance of evidence generation in clinical research – principles that strongly align with the fabric of CTTI and where we are headed with our Transforming Trials 2030 vision."

Okun most recently served as the Vice President for Policy & Ethics at PatientsLikeMe where, among many efforts, she supported the development of the company's emerging social contract for the conduct of biomedical and multi-omics research through its initiative DigitalMe™ and led a newly established Ethics and Compliance Advisory Board comprised of external members representing patients, consumers, law, ethics, and cybersecurity. Prior to PatientsLikeMe, Okun, a registered nurse, practiced as a palliative and end-of-life care specialist for nearly three decades and contributed to multiple clinical, research, and educational projects in that specialty area.

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"Now, more than ever, is the time to challenge our thinking, test our assumptions, and push the boundaries in the clinical trials space – all with the goal of making significant advancements and improvements in research to benefit patients," said Okun. "I am honored and excited to lead CTTI during this time of its ambitious Transforming Trials 2030 vision, which focuses on shaping the future of clinical trials from the patient perspective – that, I believe, is where real transformation must begin."

Announced earlier this year, Transforming Trials 2030 is CTTI's bold vision that clinical trials by 2030 be: 1) patient–centered and easily accessible, 2) fully integrated into health processes, 3) designed with a quality approach, 4) maximally leverage available data, and 5) improve population health.

"I am most excited about the impact that CTTI can have when it achieves the first vision of Transforming Trials 2030 – to make clinical trials patient-centric and easily accessible," said Okun. "We can only accomplish this vision if we are on the journey together with patients."

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