Q: What is your role in health research?
A: I work as a clinical research coordinator for Dr. Theodore Steiner in the University of British Columbia (UBC) Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases. My role includes recruiting and enrolling participants across various studies, primarily related to C.difficile infections and more recently, COVID-19.
Q: What is your research area of interest, and what led you to that interest?
A: My research interest is the area where biological and psychological health intersect. I have always been interested in understanding the psychosocial aspects of health. I also have a strong interest in infectious and cardiorespiratory diseases, and the effects of exercise on rehabilitation.
Q: What is the best part about your research job?
A: The best part of my role is the direct patient interaction. Many of the studies I work on involve interacting with patients weekly, and I feel this aspect of my role really allows me to build a better understanding of how infections affect patients biologically, psychologically and socially. I love being able to talk with patients, learning more about their personal experiences and supporting them.
Q: What does your average day at work look like?
A: My average workday can vary. I often have days where I am in the wards for two to three hours, collecting samples, gathering clinical data from patient charts or medical database, and spending time directly with patients going over informed consent or conducting study visits. The other part of my day often consists of writing and submitting ethics applications to the UBC Research Ethics Board. I also manage study information and data, and work closely with sponsors and investigators of the research projects I am a part of. One of the things I love about my role is that no two days are exactly the same.
Q: What is one of the proudest moments of your research career?
A: I am extremely excited and proud to have worked on two major COVID-19 studies this year. One of them initiated by Dr. Steiner is an immunological study focusing on both COVID-19 patients and health care workers. The other study, called CATCO, is an international randomized, open-label, controlled clinical trial looking at various treatments for COVID-19 to reduce symptom duration and mortality. The CATCO study is currently taking place at multiple sites across Vancouver – with principal investigators Dr. Allison Mah at Vancouver General Hospital, Dr. Jennifer Grant at Richmond Hospital, Dr. Josh Douglas at Lions Gate Hospital and Dr. Natasha Press at St. Paul’s Hospital.
Q: Who or what inspires or motivates you?
A: My parents, family members and the patients I meet inspire me. I truly believe everyone you meet is going through their own personal struggles and has something to show you, or something you could learn from or aspire to be more like.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
A: I have always wanted to visit Paris. I went to Italy and Amsterdam in October last year and cannot wait to get back to Europe. Due to current circumstances, I will not be travelling anytime soon, however once I can, I cannot wait to explore more of the world.
Q: What is your healthiest habit?
A: My healthiest habit is knowing when to take a break and focus on something else to de-stress and relax. I am a big advocate of taking a five minute break for a walk, to explore and experience nature, or to talk to your friends.
Q: What’s one thing we might be surprised to learn about you?
A: I love to make cheesecakes. I will find just about any excuse to bake, especially cheesecakes.
Q: What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
A: Pursue what you are passionate about, even if you don’t know where it might lead.