Clinical Research Appreciation Day

October 22, 2014
By: Marsha Green, Communications Strategist, Duke Translational Medicine Institute

Crystal Cates had a good laugh as she picked out colon-shaped and kidney-shaped gummy candies from the Oncology Research Unit table at this year’s Clinical Research Appreciation day.

“I work with biospecimens every day, so these [candies] are quite fun,” said Cates, a clinical trials specialist for the Duke Biospecimen Repository and Processing Core Facility.

Cates was one of approximately 500 people who stopped by the Oncology Research Unit table and 22 other tables set up in the Great Hall of the Trent Semans Center on Oct. 15 to learn more about clinical research resources at Duke.

The three-hour event, sponsored by the Duke Office of Clinical Research (DOCR), invited participants to learn more about research involving humans through a scavenger hunt with questions such as “When was the first research subject seen on the DCRU?” “What percentage of consents is reviewed during a CTQA Audit?" and “What are the Maestro Care set up requirements for a new protocol?”

Ellen Kelly, a financial management analyst II for the School of Medicine, successfully answered most of the questions and won the drawing for an iPod shuffle.[expand title="Read more"]

Denise Snyder, associate dean for clinical research and director of DOCR, said Clinical Research Appreciation Day started in 2013 as an opportunity to say thanks to the clinical research employees who make Duke such a vibrant hub of research, and to raise awareness of the many different tools and resources available to make their work easier.

“Researchers can’t operate as mom and pop shops anymore,” she said. “We can’t survive on that model because there is so much to know. Clinical Research Appreciation day gives folks a chance to network with other employees doing similar jobs, and to discover that there are lots of people and tools to help get the work done.”

Many of those services were raffled off, to add to the celebratory atmosphere. Winners included:

  • $150 for membership dues: Lauren Howard and Victoria Sutton
  • $75 for membership dues: Christina Bunn and Brian Mace
  • Development and submission of IRB proposal: Erin Arbuckle
  • gov registration: Susanne Harris and Dana Xiao
  • 20 hours of data entry: Eric Lipp
  • Development of REDCap survey or database (200 variables): Obinna Adibe
  • 10 hours of regulatory assistance: Juliann Gilchrist

To encourage networking, Miranda West, from DOCR, encouraged participants to sign up for the new Research Professionals Network. This group will have its first meeting in December. The hope is that it will serve as a place where employees involved in clinical research can network throughout the year and learn from each other about career paths and other professional development opportunities. Staff interested in joining the network may join the listserv by emailing the Research Professionals Network at

Many staff expressed their appreciation at the opportunity to see many different research services and representatives from different clinical research units in the same place.

“We tend to see the same people each day,” said Deborah Hickey, a clinical research coordinator III in the Heart Center CRU. “It is nice to get out and realize how many other people are doing the same sort of work.”

Delinda Phillips, a regulatory coordinator with the Breast Oncology Research group at the Duke Cancer Institute, said she enjoyed the one-stop-shop atmosphere of the day.

“I’ve only been at Duke for one and a half years, but I’ve already worked directly with almost all of these groups,” she said. “DOCR, Regulatory Affairs, OCRC, ORA, the Biobank – it is great to see all the different people in one place.”

Cates, the clinical trials specialist from the Biospecimen Repository and Processing Core, noted that the collaborative feel of the Clinical Research Appreciation echoes her experience of research at Duke.

“We see more and more people wanting to collaborate and share information and resources,” she said. “It’s nice to see all of this in one room and know that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to get your research done.”