CTSI Profile: Jillian Hurst

September 5, 2018

As a Research Program Manager with Duke Clinical and Translational Science (CTSI), Jillian Hurst oversees projects with the Duke Pediatric Research Scholars and the Children’s Health & Discovery Initiative.

In her role with the Duke Pediatric Research Scholars, Jillian oversees the planning and organization for both programs. From scheduling research seminars and running the research elective for the pediatric residency program to providing counseling for scholars and coordinating training grants, Jillian’s daily task load can vary widely.

With the Children’s Health & Discovery Initiative, Jillian works with faculty leads to manage projects that cover a wide range of child health issues. Some of the group’s current projects focus on building a data mart from children’s electronic health records in the Duke Health system; an analysis of how different environmental factors, such as weather and air quality, affect different subgroups of pediatric patients; and an evaluation of touchpoints for child abuse and neglect cases at Duke Health.

“I really enjoy getting to see projects come to fruition,” Jillian said. “With a lot of these projects, I’m starting from scratch before they even get funded, and I follow them to the end when the researchers begin publishing their studies.”

As part of CTSI, Jillian will begin to work closely with the Special Populations core. She officially joined the Special Populations team in June 2018, and she is excited to branch out and work with other CTSI staffers.

“In my role, I get to work with a lot of different researchers across campus,” Jillian said. “I like how that allows me to come at the issue of child health and well-being from multiple angles.”

When Jillian is not at work, she enjoys going out and trying new things - seeing live music at Motorco and Cat’s Cradle, teaching herself to sew, and spending time with her 4-year-old daughter. She wasn’t afraid to try something new in her professional life too; before taking on a program management position, Jillian worked as a staff science editor at the Journal of Clinical Investigation and as a bench scientist as part of her postdoctoral fellowship at UNC. The thought of taking on a new career path intimidated her at first, until a mentor reminded her she had a diverse skill set, including biomedical research experience and critical thinking and editing skills, that could take her anywhere.

“I didn’t think I had skills that anyone would want outside of academia, but I was shown I have so many transferable skills that can be used for anything,” Jillian said. “That’s something I think everyone should know - your skills are not tied to one subject area, they can be used to open up countless possibilities.”