Clinical Trials Day Countdown: Meet Jose
As part of our countdown to Clinical Trials Day, we're interviewing some of our team members. Follow along here to meet our team and learn about their experiences within clinical research!
Today we're interviewing Jose Flores, Regional Manager–New Jersey.
When did you begin working in clinical research and expand to where you are today?
I began working on clinical research back in April 2013 after eight years of nuclear medicine experience. Before Circuit Clinical, the company I worked for did phase 1 dermatology trials (dermatitis, psoriasis). I started as Senior Clinical Assistant, working closely with RN research coordinators and certified research coordinators. I learned all the research fundamentals from an outstanding peer who unfortunately passed away three years later. Eventually, I was promoted to Lab Technician where I learned about PKs, PBMCs, cell culture, and lab setup in general. I worked as a lab technician for two years and was then promoted to staff (RN and MD Supervisor). My responsibilities were to help research coordinators set up master schedules for phase 1 studies and manage the RNs and MDs’ schedules in the studies. I worked on over 100 phase 1 clinical trials and processed over 10,000 samples.
I was born and raised in Atlixco, Puebla, Mexico, and migrated to New Jersey when I was 14. As you can imagine, I held many other jobs (dishwasher, bag boy, server’s helper, baker, newspaper deliverer) while I studied in high school. I graduated from high school in 2003 and as then as a Certified Medical Assistant in 2005. I returned to college in 2011, completing credits for an associate degree in chemistry. My goal is to graduate as a LPN or RN and complete my BSN.
What made you want to work in clinical research (and/or healthcare)?
When I was eight years old, my dream was to become a doctor and help everyone in need. Although my path has been different than one of a doctor, I am finding other ways to help people and work in healthcare. And the reasons why I want to work in clinical research/healthcare are many. Two reasons are most important to me; the first is that my grandmother and uncle passed away. My uncle died of throat cancer, and his passing from this horrific cancer motivated me to work in research. They inspire me to help those in need without the intention of receiving credit.
The second reason requires a bit more about my background. I have two passions–soccer and research. Playing soccer led to my love for research. During a soccer game, I met the Senior Vice President of my previous job, and he convinced me to try researching. As I learned more about research, I understood I could make a difference in my community. What interested me about research is the opportunity to find treatments and even a cure for diseases. The satisfaction we see in patients participating in clinical trials, knowing they are doing their part, keeps me interested.
What is an example of a story/article that inspires you about doing clinical research?
I do not have a specific reason or story. While I worked for seven years in research, I realized the vast underrepresentation of the Hispanic/Latin American population in clinical trials. Lack of diverse representation in research leads to inequality in health care—the general scarcity of health education, the stigma, and poverty in some communities hinder those populations from even learning about research as a care option. Suppose we can provide access to underrepresented communities. In that case, this, in turn, can help educate them about clinical research as a treatment option and help improve their understanding of healthcare and the impact of clinical trials. The benefit of this is that it would help improve health inequities.
Since I joined Circuit Clinical, I have felt we can make a difference and make clinical trials accessible to the community. We’ve expanded access to research in areas where patients were often limited to trials because they would be required to travel over two hours to participate. By providing clinical trials in the community healthcare locations where they receive their care, we make it easier for them to participate. And, working with the doctors they see for their healthcare needs, we benefit from the trust they place in their doctor’s opinion and advisement regarding their healthcare choices. Over three years, I am satisfied we are doing our part, and this is only the beginning.
Clinical trial diversity can help improve health inequalities. To learn more how read here: https://pharmanewsintel.com/features/clinical-trial-diversity-inclusion-key-to-advancing-health-equity