CTSI Profile: Cecilia Plez

August 28, 2019

Cecilia Plez is a clinical research coordinator with the Translational Population Health Research (TransPop) group based in Kannapolis, NC. Cecilia works closely with the Community Engagement team on recruitment and retention efforts, as well as translates TransPop materials into Spanish for the local Hispanic community.

Cecilia has worked at Duke for nearly 10 years. Originally from Argentina, she moved to the U.S. and began teaching Spanish and helping families in Cabarrus County learn English and acclimate to the country. She was impressed with TransPop’s efforts to reach out to the Hispanic community, and that inspired her to apply for a job with the group.

“I loved the idea of opening our studies and research to different groups,” Cecilia said. “I had no idea about research, but I knew how to teach and send a message to this community. I’m a believer that any person can learn.”

Cecilia finds that when it comes to explaining TransPop’s research to the lay community, it’s important to think about language. Being aware of what the average person knows and doesn’t know about clinical research helps inform the team how to communicate about the work TransPop and Duke CTSI is doing.

“I always feel like I am an ambassador to the community for Duke and CTSI,” she said. “When I recruit, I recruit from the heart and my belief in the project is transparent. I am confident that we are doing something great for future generations.”

Outside of work, Cecilia enjoys cooking, knitting, and crafting. She also volunteers and teaches classes to children and women in Cabarrus County on topics such as gardening, cooking, and self-esteem. Being compassionate to others is something she values greatly in her life, and she tries to lead by example.

“Kindness is something that always matters,” she said. “Everyone at the CTSI works together with good team spirit. It feels good to know we can count on support from Duke as much as they can count on us.”