Office of Cancer Clinical Trials Recruiting Career Opportunities for the Army-Affiliated Community (Chicago, IL) – Life after military service is a time of transition for service members and their families. Some of the main challenges include finding a home, moving a family, and starting a new career that matches their skills and experience.
A unique partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense and the University of Chicago connects these individuals with opportunities that ease the transition from active duty to civilian life. The conduit for this partnership is the Office of Army-Affiliated Communities (OMAC), which welcomes, supports, and develops the veteran and military community at the University of Chicago through resources, events, and of programs.
One such program, SkillBridge, provides opportunities to gain civilian work experience through internships, apprenticeships, and industry-specific training. The program was launched by the University of Chicago Provost’s Office Equal Opportunity Programs in October 2021 and has since helped 17 transitioning service members take the next steps in their careers.
“The OMAC SkillBridge program enables transitioning military members to begin their civilian careers by providing internships and employment opportunities to enhance the skills of these heroes before they return to the civilian lifestyle,” said the director of OMAC, Terrell Odom. “The University of Chicago is able to leverage the unique skills, perspectives, and experiences of our country’s best – it’s a win-win situation.”
Odom is a veteran himself, having served in the United States Navy as a member of the hospital corps aboard naval vessels, hospitals, and alongside US Marines. He witnessed the difficulty of transitioning from military to civilian life.
It works with partners in various academic and administrative units across campus, medical center, and affiliated labs to leverage the SkillBridge program. The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC) is one such partner. Odom worked with Lauren Wall, MS, Senior Director of the Clinical Trials Support Office (CTSO) at UCCCC, to match qualified SkillBridge interns with clinical research-related positions.
Many veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses have experience in operations and logistics or have served as military doctors, medical scribes and medical interpreters. These skills could qualify them for career opportunities in clinical research.
Clinical trials study new ways to detect, prevent or treat disease. They are an integral part of all medical research, especially for cancer, a complex group of diseases that require new and improved approaches for prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment. As one of only two cancer centers in Illinois designated by the National Cancer Institute, UCCCC is a national leader in conducting cancer clinical trials.
Clinical Trials Support Office
The CTSO provides the infrastructure necessary to support the activation and ongoing monitoring of cancer clinical trials at UChicago Medicine. Through centralized services, CTSO provides support for regulatory and clinical research operations, data management, staff supervision and training, financial management, safety event reporting, and training and education. ongoing clinical researchers. More importantly, their primary responsibility is to protect the rights, safety and well-being of patients who consent to a clinical trial.
“The expertise and skills of highly trained and motivated military personnel translate directly into the talent we seek in clinical investigators,” Wall said. “To conduct complex, multidisciplinary oncology trials, you need people who can work under pressure, learn new skills and concepts quickly, understand the value of responsibility, and respect the importance of following procedures and the protocol.”
In the short time they worked together, Odom and Wall identified several talented SkillBridge interns to join UCCCC’s clinical research staff.
US Army veteran Jacob Morris and his wife, Jessica, both gain clinical research experience at CTSO as Clinical Research Coordinator and Data Entry Manager, respectively.
Additionally, Morris is pursuing his educational goals as a general graduating student in January 2023. He will focus his education on the humanities and health sciences cross sections.
“We are extremely grateful to the University of Chicago, especially OMAC and the Division of Biological Sciences for helping us through this difficult part of the transition,” he said. “Not only have they been responsive and compassionate to our transition needs, but they also continue to support us. We were able to close our first home and establish a footprint in Chicago without the hassle and headache that many other transitioning families endure.
US Army Veteran Jacob Morris, US Army Sergeant Geony Yoo, US Army Veteran Hyunjoon Choi.
Hyunjoon “Joon” Choi, a US Army veteran, is another beneficiary of the SkillBridge program and partnership with CTSO. As a regulatory compliance officer, he helped ensure that the University complied with regulations relating to the participation of human subjects in clinical trials. Like Morris, he accepted a full-time position after his probationary period.
“I completed my undergraduate studies in 2017 and applying to medical school after serving four years in the military was a difficult process,” Choi said. “The SkillBridge program offered by OMAC allowed me to bridge this gap and strengthen my candidacy by giving me invaluable experiences in clinical research, which is relevant for my future career in medicine.”
Geony Yoo had a similar experience. The US Army sergeant plans to apply to medical schools after his service. Through OMAC, he found an internship at CTSO that brought him closer to his personal and professional goals.
“While working as a clinical research data manager, I was able to broaden my perspective for the field of cancer research,” Yoo said. “I believe this experience has definitely made me a better candidate for medical school.”
Yoo has since accepted a full-time position as a data manager with UCCCC’s Developmental Therapy Program.
Office of Cancer Clinical Trials Recruiting Career Opportunities for the Army-Affiliated Community
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