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May 20, 2024

Finding Purpose in Clinical Trials: A Personal Reflection on Making a Difference

On this year’s Clinical Trials Day, I pause to reflect on what working in Clinical Trials means to me. The working world doesn’t always afford us the chance to work in support of the greater good. As someone who has worked in many industries to build and deploy technology, from financial services to energy, having a job that did something good for the world was often well outside of my reach. In my prior roles, I often recall thinking - what am I really contributing to the world? Is all this time and effort really going to make the world better for anyone? Or is it solely a commercial pursuit? Could I accept continuing on if that was the case?

Clinical Trail Day 2024 (1)

After 6 years working in RTSM, I know now the answer to that question. I’m profoundly grateful for the opportunity to have my efforts contribute to supporting patients and furthering new medicines. Working in Clinical Trials and RTSM is a challenging profession, full of tight timelines, detailed controlled processes, high expectations and serious consequences for errors. The constant refrain that makes it all worth it is knowing that each study that we build, each randomization and dispensing, is an interaction, a moment of support for the individuals, the patients who are often fighting for hope and fighting for another chance.

Earlier this year I had a personal experience which reminded me of the importance of the work we do in supporting clinical trials. About 3 months ago, I received a call from a longtime family friend. While I knew this woman relatively well, as she was a close friend of my mother’s and had hired me for catering jobs in my youth as I worked for summer cash, I was not expecting her call. When I answered, she and her husband were on the line, and quickly revealed to me that she had recently been diagnosed with a rare neurological condition, progressive supranuclear palsy or PSP. After a some unexplained symptoms had appeared, including a frightening fall, she had seen a number of specialists which resulted in this diagnosis. While happy to have more information and a better understanding of what she was facing, it was also frightening, as PSP is known to get worse over time and does not have a known cure. And though the diagnosis was given, she was still struggling to find the right specialist support, having traveled to different cities in the US seeking someone who could provide a diagnosis and treatment.

As our conversation unfolded, they shared that they came to me for guidance, as they knew I worked in clinical trials and thought I might know how she could find her way into a trial for PSP. I agreed to do some research and provide her a list of trials for PSP which she could take back to her care provider and we warmly agreed to stay in touch.

As I hung up the phone, tears fell from my eyes as I truly felt what participating in a clinical trial meant to her – it represented hope. Hope that her condition wasn’t going to stop her from continuing to live her life as she planned. So on this Clinical Trials Day, I pause to be grateful for the opportunity to support clinical trials and to make my small contribution to bringing hope to those suffering and seeking cures.

Jenna Flower

Jenna Flower, Vice President of Customer Operations, at 4G Clinical, has 15+ years of experience as an operational and business leader. Jenna has helped companies in life sciences, financial services and the public sector with organization building, project management, process definition and continuous improvement....

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