“There really is no ‘typical’ day” as a clinical research assistant
The reputation of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, which administers the grant that established the Survivorship Program, is a key reason why Jessica Weeber moved to Seattle in October 2010 to become the program’s first clinical research assistant.
Weeber, formerly a regulatory and data specialist for oncology treatment/intervention trials at a community hospital in Colorado, has long been interested in research that examines the psychological and social impact of cancer, from diagnosis to treatment to life after cancer.
“Ever since I graduated with my degree in psychology, I’ve always wanted to be a part of research that contributes to the psychological and social well-being of people,” Weeber said. “There is so much research to be done in the field of survivorship, and I wanted to be a part of helping survivors find new ways to cope, heal, and feel empowered after battling cancer. To be able to touch someone’s life in this way is very inspiring.”
Most of her work entails the administrative pieces of the research programs, such as writing and opening new research studies and managing a lot of the data. Weeber also assists with the planning and coordinating of our survivorship events.
“What is really neat about my job is that I am involved in such a variety of research projects that it seems like there really is no ‘typical’ day,” Weeber said. “Some days I am sitting at my computer entering in data or creating a database for a survey, another day I might be writing a new study or helping the survivorship team plan and coordinate one of our events. Since my job is a new position, I have some flexibility in creating what I do for the program and how I can contribute to the growth of research within the survivorship realm.”
But it’s the down-to-earth details that Weeber likes best. “When I read through our surveys or help out at one of our events, I love hearing from cancer survivors about how much our programs have inspired them to be stronger and healthier after battling cancer.
“Research in general for me is also just so much fun – for the simple fact that I am contributing to science and improving people’s lives because of it. “
The value of a dedicated cancer survivorship program can be found in its impact on patients. “The more we learn about the issues survivors face, the better equipped we are to help them navigate through the rest of their lives in the healthiest way possible,” Weeber said.