Jennifer Lee is a Twin Cities CureSearch Walk committee member and Clinical Research Associate at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Jennifer works with a team of research staff to help coordinate patient’s clinical trial participation. Jennifer loves knowing that the work she is doing is bringing medical professionals one step closer to a cure.
Q: What lead you to becoming a Clinical Research Associate (CRA)?
A: I fell into this role by complete accident but have stayed for over 10 years. I had previously worked in another area at Children’s and knew that I had a passion for working in pediatrics. What keeps me in my current position is seeing the good that can come out of a terrible situation. Pediatric cancer diagnoses are often devastating for patients and their loved ones. Knowing that I am helping to work toward the goal of ending this heartbreak means a lot to me.
Q: What is an average day like for you at the hospital?
A: I work in a team of research staff. We coordinate with each other to make sure each patient’s research needs are taken care of and collaborate with physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapy staff and many others to ensure that all research study requirements are met. There is a lot of communication that happens to make sure we’re staying on top of everything.
I also get to interact with patients if there is a need to have questionnaires done or if we help nursing staff get specimens to the lab or any other needs. I love getting the chance to see the patients. They always have such a positive attitude and big smiles.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a CRA?
A: A lot of people think working in research means working in a lab doing the same thing over and over. My job isn’t like that and I love it. Every day we are presented with new challenges whether it be helping providers figure out what labs need to be drawn and when to obtaining scans from outside hospitals to talking with a patient/family about a questionnaire. There are always new studies opening and new opportunities to advance our discipline. It’s a really exciting field.
Q: What lead you to CureSearch?
A: Our lead research doctor recognizes the important contributions that CureSearch makes to fighting children’s cancer. He is very supportive of our staff and knows that CRAs are detail oriented and very good at organizing so he asked if someone would take it on. I was passed the role from another CRA and have been the lead coordinator at our site for the past 2 years.
Q: What is your favorite part about the Walk?
A: There are many aspects of a patient’s fight with cancer that are not very fun so having the opportunity to see patients outside of the hospital and having fun is really special.