Kate has worked for Segal Trials for three years now as a Clinical Rater Supervisor and assists with Operations Support. During the beginning of Kate’s career, she worked as a therapist and counselor prior to switching to research. Kate loves to travel and is always looking for a new adventure. She enjoys cooking and all water activities.
Has there been any clinical trial participants you have worked with that had a profound effect on your life or inspired you?
There have been so many cases that have inspired me. One trial participant that I think about quite often was a gentleman who was having acute psychiatric symptoms. When he came in he was incredibly disorganized, and he was struggling to maintain his job and take care of himself. By the end of the trial, during the stabilization period (or the follow up), he came in for his visit and it was like he went through a transformation. You could see his appearance had changed; he came in well dressed, with a clean-shaven face, and was completely put together. He was carrying himself differently. He was able to get a job and live on his own. He was someone who came in incredibly paranoid and distrustful of the entire process. Getting to see his success and his complete change is really what you hope for with all patients.
What is your hope for clinical trials?
My hope is that clinical trials continue to expand and develop. Part of what I have been involved with at Segal Trials is our advocacy and community outreach group. I have helped with a lot of community presentations to educate the public about the clinical trial process. I have spoken about clinical trials and their benefits as well as what it is like to be a volunteer or professional working in clinical research. My hope is for greater awareness, and for more people to participate and learn about clinical trials as a care option.
How could we improve the experience for people in clinical trials?
I would say the best way to improve the clinical trial experience is through education. There are protections in place to ensure that participants are informed, but it is important that people fully understand the information and purpose of clinical trials to ensure long-term engagement with clinical trials. I think being able to break the information down and help them understand their role, their responsibilities and their contribution to a larger force of advancing medicine is vitally important. It enhances their experience because they have more of a tie to the process and empowered through knowledge. Their understanding of the process adds another layer of safety and protection for everyone involved.
What do you wish people knew about clinical trials?
I wish people knew clinical trials are not as scary as they may seem. A lot of the questions that we get in the initial conversations with volunteers are about myths or about being the “guinea pig”. I wish people knew that they will receive all the information to make an informed decision about what is best for them.
When you hear the mission of Greater Gift, what comes to mind?
It is exciting to me to experience the sense of pride in being involved with an organization like Greater Gift. I get to play a small part in something that brings further awareness and gratitude for the people that are sacrificing [the participants]. We are very grateful to our volunteers and enjoy working with Greater Gift to give back to volunteers for everything they do for us. All the participants I have interacted with and present with a Greater Gift certificate have been incredibly grateful. They were excited to help advance medicine and help others through the donation that was made in their honor.
Describe clinical trials in 3 words.
Innovation. Hope. Education.