CTSI Profile: Jamie Roberts

December 1, 2017

During her first job interview, Jamie Roberts received a piece of advice that has motivated her throughout her career: change is an opportunity to do something better.

In her role as senior staff director for the Clinical Research Networks, Jamie works on projects like the Trial Innovation Network Liaison Team, GetData@Duke, and the Recruitment Innovation Center. Her goal in all of these venues is to improve research efforts, collaboration, and ultimately, patient care.

When she came on board in February 2017, Jamie was tasked with growing these programs and bringing them together, as part of the requirements under Duke’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) grant.

One of her goals is to establish best practices for clinical trial recruitment, drawing on her experiences from working for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS) and the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative. These best practices start with establishing a realistic timeframe and eliminating roadblocks that may affect projects downstream.

“The habit for researchers is to design the study and then figure out who they’re recruiting,” she said. “We’re trying to move that recruiting process up.”

Overall, Jamie and her team are working to streamline the research process and unite all the resources at Duke to help meet researchers’ needs. This includes locating appropriate sites for potential recruitment, and working with the Primary Care Research Consortium to engage primary care providers earlier to ensure clinicians are willing to recruit subjects appropriately. Along with improving recruitment, Jamie works with GetData@Duke to create a centralized data catalog for Duke researchers.

“I really enjoy being part of a group that is truly engaged in providing a service to Duke,” she said. “We’re a neutral resource that is both team- and customer-service-minded to make processes easier, better, and more efficient for the research community at Duke.”

Jamie’s work has not always focused on translational research - she began her career in nursing. But no matter where her career takes her or what her focus may be, she’ll continue to draw inspiration and excitement from that very first interview.

“Some people resist change because it’s difficult or uncomfortable,” she said. “Since that first interview, I’ve been looking at change as something exciting.”