Recruiting patients to participate in SWOG’s clinical trials is a critical function in our work to significantly improve lives through cancer research. Without patient volunteers, we have no trials and no study outcomes.

With this in mind, I’m happy to announce that we’ve brought on board a new recruitment and retention specialist to help us with this work. Her name is Jamie Sundstrom, and she is based at Cancer Research And Biostatistics (CRAB) in Seattle. 

This is a position we previously relied on, but when it became vacant last year, it proved difficult to find the right person to fill it (in spite of vigorous efforts!). With Jamie, I believe we have found exactly the right person.

She has worked in clinical research since she was an undergraduate, most recently as a lead clinical research coordinator at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where among her responsibilities, she led efforts to recruit and retain patients for the studies under her purview.

Passionate about research and using science to help those in need, she recognized that this recruitment position with a cancer clinical research network would be an opportunity to have an even broader impact, and she pursued it.

Jamie’s clinic-level research experience should prove particularly valuable as we work to provide research staff and investigators at our sites with tools and materials that help raise awareness of our trials and that mesh with their workflow. Her ground-level experience also complements, for example, our existing staff expertise in developing recruitment materials targeted to patients.

SWOG’s takes some standard steps with every new trial to help boost accrual, including creating a summary in plain language to introduce the study to potential participants and their caregivers, and disseminating a social media toolkit to help raise awareness among both providers and patients.

But for developing studies that are expected to require extra recruitment efforts, and for active studies in need of additional recruitment help, study leaders can now complete and submit a new recruitment assistance request form on the SWOG website (also accessible to logged in SWOG members via the Accrual Resources page in the Clinical Trials section). These requests go to Jamie, who coordinates with other staff involved in patient recruitment and who, as staff liaison to our recruitment and retention committee, also works closely with members of that group. 

I reached out to the chair of that committee, Allison Caban-Holt, PhD, to get her take on our new staff member. She said, “the recruitment and retention committee is excited to have Jamie Sundstrom working with us to support research committees in reaching their targets for accrual and retaining participants. We are going to benefit tremendously from Jamie’s talent, experience, and organization. We are looking forward to having her on board!”

I share Dr. Caban-Holt’s sentiment, as will, I believe, the rest of the SWOG Cancer Research Network!

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