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Doing my part

a message from Susan N. Greco, MD

9/29/2014 5:20:21 PM
Categories: Breakthroughs

After 15 years of conducting clinical research trials, I’ve seen many investigational therapies come and go.  Some have gone on to become household names, and others have fizzled out for various reasons.  I’m a big believer in the clinical trial process, and I’m proud to say I’ve done my part in testing the safety and efficacy of these treatments.  However, my greatest source of pride is the difference that my colleagues and I sometimes make in our research patients’ everyday lives.  Clinical trials require thorough exams and evaluations for research subjects, and we’ve diagnosed all sorts of medical issues, often unrelated to the disease or treatment under study.  We’ve helped scores of patients to better understand their medication regimens and to navigate their way through their health concerns.  I’m humbled by our volunteers’ determination and strength as they struggle with chronic diseases, and I’m grateful that ‘doing my part’ allows me to offer novel therapies that may relieve their suffering and improve their lives.

I did my part!

9/29/2014 5:17:54 PM
Categories: Musings

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to ask for volunteers to complete a project? Have you heard the expression, “I’ve done my part” to express fatigue or dis-interest?  This can be truly frustrating especially when there are deadlines involved and resources are limited.

I am very happy to report, however, that in Jacksonville, this is definitely not the case when it comes to clinical research participation. In fact, this October, JCCR will be celebrating 50,000 volunteer members in our research community!

This number represents individuals in our area that are interested in contributing to the research and development of new medications and therapies that affect not only our community, but in many instances, have global impact. When you visit our site on University Boulevard, you will see two bulletin boards in our lobby with over seventy common drug names prominently displayed. This is only a sample of the medications that have been tested and evaluated here at JCCR.  With over 1000 clinical trials under our belt, we are the area’s premier research facility – and we are still growing!

Okay, so I am seriously bragging on our members, but it feels good to be part of something good, something innovative, and something meaningful. We have seen this over and over again with people who have not only participated in numerous programs over the years, but have readily referred their friends and family members for research participation as well.

The theme of our upcoming celebration is “I did my part”, so mark your calendars and come out and join us. Let us thank you in person for doing your part!

Roll Down the Windows!

8/1/2014 3:37:27 PM

Last month the air conditioning in my van stopped working!  So, for a week or so, I drove around town with the windows rolled down.  Being as accustomed as I am to comfort….this was an interesting, and not always comfortable, experience on multiple levels. First of all, just the sheer disruption of all of that wind blowing around inside the vehicle was a distraction to me. I had to crank the radio way up and my hair got all mussed. Then, of course there was the traffic. Stop and go traffic means stop and go airflow. It made me perspire….and for someone as prissy as I am that was not a welcome condition. I am not exaggerating when I say that I was overjoyed when the a/c got fixed and I was back in my comfort zone.  Before that happened, though, while I was traveling around town with the windows down,  I realized that I was paying a lot more attention to my surroundings than I normally would have.

Along with the sounds and smells around me, I was also was more visually aware of the world passing by. Sounds and sights connected.  I heard the mower and saw that young boy taking care of the yard. I heard the radio and laughter from the car next to me at the intersection and saw the people inside. I noticed people standing on corners and walking along sidewalks. Driving through a construction zone I heard the noise of machinery and I could smell the hot asphalt from the recent paving – real life going on all around me.  I made eye contact with my fellow travelers. This was a little unsettling, but truly demonstrated to me how isolated we can be from our environment without even realizing it. Normally, that thin bit of glass insulates me from whatever else might be going on outside. I listen to my favorite radio station; I turn down the same streets on my way to work: my commute on autopilot.

I need my air conditioning – especially now that we are getting to the hottest part of summer, but I am glad that I had that briefest experience without it.  I like to be challenged every now and again to pay attention to what is going on around me and maybe see things from a fresh perspective.  That is partly why I enjoy my job in research so much. It offers me the opportunity to see things differently. In fact, the very premise of research is to evaluate something in a new, and maybe better, way. New advancements in health care are happening every day and much of it depends on research initiatives.  So my challenge to you is to roll the windows down in your life and see what you notice. You may be surprised.