Faster Trial Development on the Horizon
SWOG is hiring, specifically to speed up our trial development process. At our operations and group chair offices, we are adding five new positions so we can more quickly activate, conduct, and close out the clinical trials that we hope will lead to longer, or better, lives for patients with cancer.
Last month, in our operations office in San Antonio, we welcomed assistant director of operations Norbert Strauss. His position is brand new, and he reports to Dana Sparks, our director of operations and protocols and Nathan Eriksen, our chief of administration. Norbert has a human resources focus in his role, overseeing all hiring and training for operations office staff. As trials get increasingly complex – particularly in terms of their logistics – it has never been more important to hire, mentor, and train true experts. Norbert will also be responsible for managing staff tools – such as Office 365 – that can help protocol coordinators do their work more easily and more quickly. Finally, all department heads now report to him, freeing up Dana to focus on FDA registration trial issues and long-term strategy for our ops team.
Also in ops, we are moving to a new protocol project management structure. Instead of a single department manager, we will have three protocol project managers – a move that requires creating two new positions. With dedicated project managers for each and every study, we expect improvements to the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire protocol team. In addition to focusing on NCI timelines, project managers will serve as liaisons to study teams and budgeting staff, and monitor the scope and direction of studies so that protocol coordinators can focus in on their very specialized tasks. Protocol coordinators are mission-critical members of the SWOG team. Which is why we not only want to provide them more support with the new management structure, but also give them more career ladder options so we can keep some of our excellent staffers who want to grow with the organization.
At the group chair’s office here in Portland, we’ll add a third attorney. This will speed the contract negotiation and approval process significantly, and also elevates Edie Van Putten to lead attorney status. With Edie overseeing two staff members, this frees up Nathan to work on big-picture projects like deployment of new technology, and data capture and analysis.
We plan to hire another grants administrator. This is not a new position, but a retooling of an open slot. This administrator will serve under Pat Mize, our senior grants and contracts manager, and will speed along our work – subcontracts, travel reimbursements, and study payment will all be issued more quickly. The new administrator will also help the grants and contracts team submit supplemental budget requests for RO1s for members and Biomarker, Imaging, and Quality of Life Studies Funding Program (BIQSFP) awards for SWOG studies.
The fifth and final new position is an administrative assistant for the group chair’s office. This new staffer will provide committee chairs with conference call support, and help executive officers with key tasks such as helping to manage logistics for SWOG leadership retreats and strategy meetings.
I hope to see the new hires on board soon. Stay tuned for more descriptions of important staffers and what they do for you and SWOG.