We are excited to introduce our newest team member, Gabrielle Jones, who recently joined Slope as a Site Development Consultant. To help you get to know Gabrielle a little better, we conducted a Q&A interview with her at this weekend’s ACRP conference.
Alex Yant (AY): Welcome to the team, Gabrielle! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Gabrielle Jones (GJ): Thank you! I am thrilled to be part of Slope. I have spent the last 2 years as a study coordinator, with half of that experience within oncology clinical trials. The other half was a combination of COVID clinical trials and retrospective physical therapy outcome studies.
AY: Tell me about some of your experiences as a coordinator.
GJ: Since I worked in oncology trials, I spent a lot of time with a very sick patient population. The majority of the patients were older, so even without cancer, there were a variety of other issues at play. You really want to help your patients, and sometimes that is just making them comfortable or helping to slow the progression of their disease.
AY: What were some of the challenges you faced?
GJ: Coordinator burn-out is real. Just the fact that you are helping other human beings, it’s not a job where you can show up and not give 110% every day. That is someone’s mother, father, grandparent — and you see them face-to-face. So you do whatever you can, even if that means fighting red tape or finding workarounds.
Research sites are also facing challenges with being understaffed. The work is demanding, and there are never enough coordinators to get the job done — and yet you find a way because you are working with people. It’s both rewarding and taxing.
AY: As a former coordinator myself, I completely understand where you’re coming from.
I’d like to get a bit of perspective on the state of the industry from you. What’s changed in clinical trials since you started your career? What hasn’t changed? Where do you see the world of clinical trials going?
GJ: Clinical research professionals across the globe agree that the work is never done, and that will never change. There will always be diseases in need of treatments or an existing therapy that needs fine-tuning. I think clinical trials will become more accessible and readily received by target demographics due to the rise of technological advances that make the behind-the-scenes work easier and more efficient. Clinical research professionals can focus their attention on making trials as equally feasible as standard of care treatments if they aren’t bogged down by the little tasks that can snowball into big problems. Patients can feel at ease about choosing an experimental option if they become more common.
AY: So coming from the site world, what motivated you to make the move to join the Slope team?
GJ: While I loved being a coordinator, there are many ongoing issues that coordinators face because there are so many things to do and so little time, especially when it comes down to inventory management. I was actually a Slope user as a coordinator, it was the miracle solution to the inventory issues that I faced.
I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed because you want what’s best for your patients, but not being quite sure how to make that happen efficiently. The thought of bringing such an amazing and FREE solution to other sites drove me to take on this role.
AY: What expectations did you have coming on board? What surprised you about working with a company like Slope?
GJ: The most surprising thing about Slope was the culture. Even though the amazing camaraderie had been discussed in interviews, it was a completely different experience seeing it firsthand. Everyone genuinely likes working with one another and has a passion to change clinical research for the better.
Besides the genuine love everyone seems to have for one another, I would say my favorite part about being on the team would be the amount of travel. I love that I can do my job in the comfort of my home one week, and the next, I can be across the country where I'm meeting with my teammates to bring the joy of Slope to clinical research professionals.
AY: How was your ACRP experience? What were your key takeaways?
GJ: ACRP was the first conference that I’ve attended, and it was an amazing experience! Everyone that I met and connected with had a passion for research and were looking for innovative solutions to the common problems that all research professionals face. My favorite part was empathizing with other coordinators about their challenges and the value of their work.
Another memorable experience was attending the Black Women in Clinical Research gathering and meeting Danielle Mitchell. So many are struggling breaking into clinical research and I was inspired by her work and the community she is building.
I also enjoyed kicking off the celebration of Clinical Trials Day, which is coming up on May 20th. It means a lot to recognize all the work that goes into making clinical trials successful — and I am excited to contribute to Slope’s mission to make clinical trials boring so other coordinators can spend more time with their patients, and less time being overwhelmed.