Clinical Trials Day Countdown: Meet Irfan
Today is Clinical Trials Day! Throughout May, we have counted down each day by interviewing members of our clinical team. We have been inspired by their stories and are proud of the work they do here at Circuit Clinical, along with the work from our entire team, in providing access to clinical research as a care option. At Circuit, every day is Clinical Trials Day.
For our final Clinical Trials Day post, we interviewed our Founder and CEO, Irfan Khan, MD.
When did you begin working in clinical research and expand to where you're today?
I was lucky to train in a program at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, OH, where they valued clinical research and improving access to clinical trials for participants. The ethos of my mentors from my time working at MetroHealth concerning the importance of making time to serve as a Principal Investigator never left me. When I joined private practice years later, I was again lucky to work with experienced private practice cardiologists who valued offering their patients clinical research as a care option. The understanding that busy private practice physicians would make time for clinical research helped drive the insight that eventually evolved into Circuit Clinical. At Circuit, the joy has been assembling a team that brings together people with diverse thoughts, backgrounds, and experiences. It’s an ongoing challenge that requires us to act intentionally, but the outcome–a team that reflects our aspirations and reflects the participants we aim to serve–is worth the effort.
What made you want to work in clinical research (and/or healthcare)?
It’s deeply gratifying to help patients and offer them opportunities to advance their care that won’t be available for years. It’s outstanding work and never stopped speaking to my soul. I missed the window to find a significant clinical trial for my Dad when he developed Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease–and I’m privileged to be very health literate. My thinking is that if it was hard for me–it must be near impossible for everyone else, and there is a strong need to make accessing clinical research more equitable. I’ve also recently been a patient myself, and the fact that the interventional tools that saved my life were once the focus of a clinical trial is something I reflect on a lot. What’s always motivated me is the promise that clinical research affords us directly and more generally.
What is an example of a story/article that inspires you about doing clinical research?
In its early days, Circuit was able to help bring to market the COVID-19 saliva test that was used 50,000 times a day in the first wave. I reflect on this with pride often. Our team completed the work on this project in ten days, work that would typically have taken six months. No one person solves big problems – it takes many bright, talented, hardworking people acting in a coordinated, high-trust manner to effect real change. But when it works – it’s practical magic!