Collaborative work is key to developing sustainable public health solutions and improving population health outcomes. This weekly series spotlights one SPH staff member who advances public health through collaborations within the field and across sectors.
What are the main responsibilities of your role?
I wear a number of different hats, so my responsibilities are rather varied. I help with the operational management of BEDAC as part of the leadership team (helping to manage assignments, staffing, and other tactical decisions). I also lead the small, but growing, project management group within BEDAC. And I am also myself a project manager, data manager, and analyst on about 10-15 projects at any given time.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I really enjoy the variety—I’m never bored!—but really, the best thing about my job is the people I work with. The BEDAC team is full of the most intelligent, compassionate, funny, and hard-working people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. Interacting with my coworkers is definitely one of the highlights of every day.
What makes you a great collaborator and what are one or two collaborative projects that you are most proud of?
I love quietly working behind the scenes to get things done.
I’m proud of so many of the projects I work on—how can I pick just one or two? I’m excited that a couple of the HRSA-funded projects I’m working on with BU’s CISWH group and Howard Cabral are now in or are soon to enter the analysis phase. The DEII Dissemination and Evaluation Center (DEC) and ETAP studies are both multi-site studies of interventions trying to improve retention in care for persons living with HIV. Each has weathered a number of unexpected challenges—from hurricane Maria affecting the DEC site in Puerto Rico to the current situation where ETAP sites are trying to help clients during the coronavirus public health emergency. Working with these dedicated researchers, clinicians, navigators, and housing and employment partners all around the United States to document the work they’re doing is pretty amazing.
How does BEDAC’s collaborative nature advance the mission of the school?
One of the great things about BEDAC is the breadth of knowledge and experience in so many areas across the entire research lifecycle. Our group works not only with BU investigators, but also with BMC, other academic and non-academic institutions, and industry—and we provide assistance with everything from developing research methodologies and creating data collection systems, to managing and visualizing data, to building analytic models and writing papers. We are proud to work with so many exciting groups in order to facilitate and promote excellence and innovation in research.</blockquote >
“Clara is a strong, silent leader and is the backbone of the BEDAC operations. She is the first person to offer a helping hand in any situation and strives to elevate and mentor staff so that they continue to learn and grow into their positions. She is selfless in her approach, it is a privilege to work with her. At the BEDAC, we are fortunate for her vast substantive and technical knowledge in support of the school’s mission.”
Kimberly Dukes, executive director of BEDAC and research associate professor of biostatistics