Clinical Trials Day Countdown: Meet Paige

As part of our countdown to Clinical Trials Day, we're interviewing some of our clinical team members. Follow along here to meet our team and learn about their experiences within clinical research!

Today we're interviewing Paige Menier, BS, CCRC, Regional Manager, Clinical Research.

 

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Tell us about your clinical research journey and why this work is important to you? 

In high school and college, I signed up to participate in a few different research trials at a local research facility. While participating, I became interested in the organization and conduct of clinical trials, leading to my research career interest. 

The first study I participated in was during high school and only included one visit and required a DEXA scan to measure bone density. I participated in this study to understand my baseline bone health, especially since osteoporosis is prevalent in women. The study team explained all the information they were gathering from me and how the machine worked. They provided me with a copy of my bone density results from the scan, which showed me my risk of osteoporosis at the time of the scan and what projections as I age.   

I've had an interest in diabetes care since I was in elementary school and had a friend with diabetes. Additionally, since I was a college student then, it was helpful to have a little extra spending money. So, I participated in a study as a healthy volunteer to study the absorption and metabolism of different forms of the drug Metformin. The study team took blood samples during time points while I stayed in the clinic hooked up to an IV saline drip for the day. I could have a private room with all the movies and television I wanted to watch, and the team was very attentive to my needs.   

The most recent study I participated in before my research career was measuring the effect of Omega-3s on body composition. I participated in this study because I was pursuing my bachelor's degree in nutrition and wanted to contribute to the science of healthful diets. For six weeks, I ate meals the clinic's Registered Dietitian prepared, answered questionnaires, and had body composition scans. All these studies were great experiences, and I continued to search the facility's website for studies that I would qualify for because I felt appreciated by the study team. 

In my final year of college, I began working as a research student intern in the Interventional Resources department of the same research facility where I had previously participated.   

After graduating in 2017, I worked full-time as a Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) at a local clinic. I have worked my way up through the CRC levels and into site management over the years, and I couldn't be happier to have fallen into the industry. I've learned much about the healthcare industry, met many wonderful patients and people, and made connections that will last a lifetime.

Working in clinical research is my way of contributing to the world. I have been lucky enough to be part of the teams working on Covid-19 vaccines and oncology treatments, among many other life-altering projects within healthcare. I'm happy if my work can help even one person feel better.  

 

What made you want to work in clinical research (and/or healthcare)? 

In early 2014, my dad had a "widow maker" heart attack - he survived it, thankfully, because he was surrounded by friends who knew CPR and was in a facility that had an AED and were able to use to restart his heart before the ambulance arrived. His cardiologist provided him with a strict heart-healthy diet. I wanted to learn more about how nutrition and overall health affect body systems, so I enrolled in college to pursue a Nutrition Sciences degree. Ultimately, I decided not to be a registered dietitian and instead began my career in clinical research. I wanted to be at the forefront of preventing others from experiencing what my dad and our family experienced during his heart attack and recovery. 

Additionally, my mom's side of the family has an extensive history of Autosomal Dominant Alport Syndrome (ADAS), a rare form of kidney disease. It has affected my maternal grandmother and every one of her sisters, as well as their children. Around the time I graduated high school, my uncle was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and began dialysis. During my time in the industry, I have worked on many kidney disease trials, including patients in early-stage through end-stage renal disease. These trials have significantly impacted the treatment and care for kidney disease patients, and I'm so proud to have been a part of them.

  

What is an example of a story from your work in clinical research that inspires you?

When I worked with ESRD patients in the dialysis facilities, I met many wonderful people who had to go to the dialysis clinic three times or more weekly. I was recruiting for a study and met a fantastic man who was a local pastor and community organizer. He agreed to participate in the study I was recruiting for, and I began to see him at every treatment he went to, so we became fast friends. He was the kindest soul, and it amazed me to see how the study medication increased his quality of life. He was ecstatic each time he saw me and would rave about how great he felt. After his study participation ended, I was still around at the clinic frequently, and we would continue to chat. People like him inspire me to continue doing research organizations' work.  

 As I stated earlier, I entered the world of research to make a difference and help people, and so I’d like to share more about chronic kidney disease. Remarkably, many people are not even aware they have chronic kidney disease even though one in seven people have it. To learn more about CKD, the symptoms, and diagnosis, read here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172179#stages

 

"Feeling as though I am able to help even one person feel better is what keeps me going." – Paige Menier