Special Populations (SPO) Community

The Special Populations Community focuses on research with groups of patients that differ with regard to human development (pediatrics, geriatrics, pregnancy), gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, body condition (obesity/malnutrition), or lifestyle (drug dependence, smoking).

SPO Mission

The mission of the Special Populations Community is to engage members in clinical pharmacology and translational medicine research across academia, regulatory agencies, and industry to understand factors that contribute to variable therapeutic outcomes in special populations. 

SPO Goals
  • Provide a Community environment that fosters the development of much needed scientific expertise in special populations, including an appreciation for the diversity of the research in special populations.
  • Encourage the development of innovative pharmacological tools to engage special populations in research.
  • Stimulate scientific collaborations among clinical pharmacologists with interests in special populations and encourage the sharing of knowledge about common challenges in conducting research in special populations.
  • Provide a platform to collaborate with regulatory agencies to disseminate knowledge and expertise for the enhancement of guidelines on special populations. 
  • Support members to propose and sponsor programming for ASCPT Annual Meetings as well as webinars and other educational resources throughout the year that are of interest to the SPO Community.
  • Encourage feedback from the SPO Community members and be responsive to ideas, initiatives, and involvement. 
Community News
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SPO Community Steering Committee Update
Please read the latest update from the SPO Community Steering Committee. Click here to read the message.

  Recent Webinar
Title: Modernization of Eligibility Criteria Initiative: Focus on Organ Impairment and Pediatrics Working Groups
Speakers: Atiqur Nam Rahman, PhD, Division Director and Ruby Leong, PhD, Reviewer, Office of Clinical Pharmacology, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration.
Moderators: Elimika Pfuma Fletcher, PharmD, PhD, and Catherine M.T. Sherwin, PhD
Description: Friends of Cancer Research (FOCR) and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) launched the Modernization of Eligibility Criteria Initiative in 2016. This is a collaborative effort with participants from FDA, NCI, patient advocates, pharmaceutical industry, academic and clinical investigators aimed to modernize eligibility criteria in order to promote patient participation in cancer clinical trials. The initiative began with four prioritized interdisciplinary working groups (WG): Minimum Age WG, Organ Impairment, Prior Malignancies and Comorbidities WG, Brain Metastases WG and HIV/AIDS WG. This webinar will focus on the inclusion of patients with organ dysfunction in trials and adolescent (12-18 years of age) patient’s inclusion in adult clinical trials based on recommendations from the Organ Dysfunction and Minimum Age WGs. Please see the recent article that discusses the impetus for the initiative to be discussed in this webinar. The speakers will discuss the data reviewed and the considerations behind the WG recommendations. 

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Catherine M.T. Sherwin, PhD
Read her full bio here
Vice Chair
Paulien Ravenstijn, PhD
Read her full bio.

Past Chair
Erica L. Woodahl, PhD
Read her full bio here

SPO Steering Committee:
Geert ‘t Jong, MD, PhD 
Malaz AbuTarif, MBA, PhD 
Jacob Brown, PharmD 
Violette Gijsen, MSc
Mary Jayne Kennedy, PharmD 
Matthew Linakis, BS

Bianca van Groen, PharmD

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