North Royalton, Ohio
When I screened my first potential study participant at the ACTG site in Toledo, I started to doubt myself and wonder if I’d made a huge mistake. I was experienced in clinical trials research and knew oncology very well; HIV was a whole new entity. In 1991, there were few treatments; none of them really good. My potential participant has a CD4 count of 0, CMV, MAC, and had just gotten over PCP. I was literally afraid I’d kill him by doing something wrong. He enrolled in ACTG 193, as did many others at our clinic.
What I soon discovered was that the people who came to our clinic didn’t have the family support, social support, educational opportunities, or assistance that my oncology patients had readily available. I was very active with our site’s CAB. My PI moved to Detroit in 1996, closing our Toledo site, and despite the hour drive to work, I soon joined him at a Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS site as Project Director attending our site CAB meetings, explaining our trials. After graduate school, I went to work in the pharmaceutical industry for several years, but once again came back to academic research. Big Pharma has its downfalls, but I learned a lot about the construction of protocols, pharmacology, and statistics that continue to be immensely helpful.
In 2014, I joined the CWRU/UH CAB as a member, continuing HIV advocacy in a new way. I joined the CSS five years ago and am the CSS representative on four protocols. As GCAB Co-Chair, I hope to represent our membership well, bringing the issues affecting the HIV community forward and helping plan educational opportunities for the community. I’m excited to work beside my Co-Chair and friend, Christopher Tunstall.
In my “spare” time, I’m very active in my church and serve as an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, working with inner city children. I am also an Elf Snowflake in November and December on the North Pole Adventure Train, and I ice skate with a local club.