Phone: (414) 918-9822    Email: [email protected]

2019 Voting Guide: Round 1

Candidates (click the candidate's name to view their bio and candidate statement)

JIA Chair
Mara Becker, MD, MSCE
Sarah Ringold, MD

RCN Chair
Suzy Jones
Mary Ellen Riordan, BSN

Who can Vote?
Voting for JIA Chair is only open to CARRA voting members (pediatric rheumatologists, sponsored voting members, emeritus members)

Voting for RCN Chair is only open to CARRA research coordinator members.

How to Vote
Ballots were sent to the email address on file on 1/10/19. If you did not receive your ballot, please contact Brian Mondragon Jones at [email protected]

Voting Period
Voting Closes January 21 at 8pm ET.


JIA Chair

CARRA

Mara Becker, MD, MSCE
Children's Mercy Hospital

Candidate Bio

Candidate Statement
Thank you so much for the nomination to run for CARRA JIA Chair.  As I have reflected on this opportunity, I realized how much talent we have in this organization and thus am honored to be considered as a possible contender for this position. 

My background is as a dually trained Pediatric Rheumatologist and Clinical Pharmacologist.  This additional fellowship training has been instrumental in helping to form the foundation for my translational research interests in the variability in drug response, mainly involving methotrexate and the impact on folate homeostasis in our JIA patients.  This area of work has been a large part of my research career and now, in part, forms a component of PROMOTE, an NICHD-funded R01 study that aims to predict response to methotrexate utilizing genomic and metabolic profiles.  I also have a strong interest in using cellular folate to guide appropriate MTX dosing in patients with Down syndrome, as well as investigating therapeutic drug monitoring of biologic therapies and novel biomarkers of drug response in JIA.  However, as important as the science and discovery is with these research interests, it is the team of investigators and collaborators that contribute to this work that make it quite meaningful to me.  I have had the privilege of working closely with clinicians, analytical chemists, molecular geneticists, PharmD/PhDs, and cell biologists.  In fact, it is the building of diverse teams of collaborators that I enjoy most in this work, and as a result, I know the work product benefits from a team approach.  I believe the strong partnership and collaboration with my Co-PI Sue Thompson, PhD resulted in a better scientific question and successful NIH funding.  I see this as a real strength in CARRA and I’d like to bring my enthusiasm for team building to the JIA committee.  With several successful workgroups already well established, I’d like to highlight the outstanding work that is being done, synergize work that can be complemented between workgroups, strengthen the sense of purpose for work related to JIA, and encourage novel approaches and ideas to advance our work in this area.  In addition, as CARRA has grown to involve a variety of partners such as the Arthritis Foundation, PARTNERS, and industry, we are poised to explore using the CARRA network and the Registry as a platform to perform large scale innovative clinical trials.

Another large component of my career that can serve me well in this role is the administrative experience I have gained in the last several years.  I served as the Division Director of Rheumatology and grew our group to nine outstanding faculty.  I have also served as an Associate Chair for the Department of Pediatrics working specifically with Neurology, Developmental Pediatrics, Genetics, and Rehabilitation in addition to Rheumatology.  Currently I am the Senior Medical Director for ambulatory services.  These experiences have helped me develop not only a deeper appreciation for my colleagues in Rheumatology, but also an ability to work with and lead a very large group of diverse physicians from various backgrounds and with various goals and priorities.  These experiences have helped me to keep a healthy perspective of what is important, and appreciate the significance of knowing how our individual efforts align and contribute to the bigger picture.  CARRA has been an organization that has grown rapidly over the last 15 years.  In the daily grind, it is easy to lose sight of the great strides that we have made, and even lose perspective of how our work through CARRA contributes to the advancement of our field and ultimately better care for our patients.  I’d like to use this leadership opportunity to celebrate and put in clear perspective how far we have come, and how important each individual is to the success of the whole, but also to ignite and cultivate the urgency and perseverance to keep working and questioning and searching for answers to the many questions that remain in JIA.  We have much farther to go, but I sincerely believe we have the foundation to support real strides to move our field forward, together.

I’ve really enjoyed being a part of CARRA throughout the years, thank you for considering my nomination, and I would be honored to serve as JIA Chair if elected by the membership.

Return to the top

CARRA

Sarah Ringold, MD, MS
Seattle Children's Hospital

Candidate Bio

Candidate Statement
I am writing to express my enthusiasm in running for the CARRA JIA Committee Chair position and to state my intent-to-serve, if elected.

Over the past several years, I have been actively involved with CARRA, as a voting member, a previous member of the Finance Committee, a Registry Intern, and through involvement in several CARRA research collaborations – including the publication of manuscripts using data from the legacy CARRA Registry and by serving as a co-leader of the development of CTPs for poly-JIA. I am currently co-PI of STOP-JIA (Start Time Optimization of biologics in Poly-JIA), which is assessing the comparative effectiveness of the poly-JIA CTPs and leveraging the CARRA Registry. I also serve as the CARRA site PI for Seattle Children’s, which has successfully enrolled patients into a number of CARRA studies, including the current Registry.

Most recently, I have been serving as Vice Chair of the JIA Committee. During this time, Pam Weiss (Cahir) and I have restructured the Committee, replacing the prior Protocol Evaluation Committee with an Advisory Committee. The new Advisory Committee includes members from each Workgroup and seeks to improve communication within the committee and identify opportunities for collaboration. I have also actively contributed to the planning of the JIA Committee sessions at the annual meeting, including having CARRA award recipients present their ongoing research, which has been well received.

I would look forward to continuing my commitment to CARRA as Chair of the JIA Committee. During my term as Vice Chair, I have interacted with the JIA Committee and developed an understanding of its role in supporting the research of CARRA members. As Chair, I would be particularly committed to ensuring that the JIA committee continues to support CARRA members as they develop, implement, and seek funding for new research ideas. This will include continuing to define the role of the Advisory Committee and ways to facilitate communication. This support would also include working with the JIA Committee Vice Chair to maintain an inclusive scientific agenda and to make certain that both new and existing Workgroups have adequate support to move their projects forward.

I am excited about this opportunity to continue to support and expand CARRA’s JIA research program, and look forward to the challenges it will bring.

Return to the top


RCN Chair

CARRA

Suzy Jones
University of Utah

Candidate Bio

Candidate Statement
I have been nominated for the Research Coordinator Network Chair position by Dr. Aimee Hersh who serves as Division Chief of Pediatric Rheumatology at the University of Utah and Chair of the CARRA SLE Committee.  When I decided to return to school to pursue a second career, I only knew that I had an interest in medicine and science. While obtaining my Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology with a minor in Nutrition I discovered that I have a passion for research.  After graduation in 2012, I was hired to the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Utah as a Study Coordinator. I was subsequently promoted to a Clinical Research Coordinator in 2015 when I obtained a Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) certification with the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA). In 2016, I was promoted to supervisor of our research team, which includes myself, a Clinical Research Coordinator and a Study Coordinator, and in 2018, I became a Research Manager. Since joining the division, I have been active in several CARRA research projects including being the primary enroller of subjects in the Legacy Registry.  I initiated the current CARRA registry at our site and as our research team has grown, I have continued to participate, oversee and manage our team as an active participating site in various sub studies such as STOP JIA, FROST, PEPR, and PROMOTE.  Our division’s commitment to CARRA is evident as we are currently the highest enrolling site in the registry.   Currently our research team is responsible for approximately 20 observational, clinical and industry sponsored studies/trials, which I directly oversee. I have worked on all aspects of a research study including negotiating budgets, reviewing contracts, writing IRB applications and consent forms, creating protocols and databases, drafting, and maintaining regulatory documents such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and for federal oversight.  This experience and the skills I have developed in this role would be directly applied in the Research Coordinator Network Chair position.

I have been an active participant in the Research Coordinator Advisory Committee (RCAC) and a CARRA member since 2016. I attended the CARRA meetings in 2016 in Toronto, CA and 2017 in Houston, TX.  I have also attended RCAC meetings at the ACR in Washington DC in 2016 and Chicago in 2018. As the Research Coordinator Network Chair, I would like to be a support for other research coordinators who work on CARRA projects. I truly would like to be a resource for coordinators to reach out to.  I would enjoy the opportunity to answer the calls and questions from coordinators that need the advice, expertise, or assistance that I have to offer. 

I believe that a research coordinator’s role in the process of research is often misunderstood or undervalued.  I would like to try to help define that role by helping other research coordinators understand the importance of the work we do.  In many cases, coordinators are the face of research and serve as the voice for the CARRA registry.  Research coordinators are often the person that participants get to know and feel comfortable with.  It is important that the coordinator understands their role and it is essential that coordinators are able to confidently talk to patients and their families about the purpose of CARRA and the goals of research. I care about the quality of research; I care about the participants and their understanding about participation in research, and their rights as study participants.  I feel strongly that everything we do in research today can affect the care of patients tomorrow.  I consider it a privilege to be nominated for the Research Coordinator Network Chair position and would be happy to serve if elected.  My hope would be to provide a welcoming and empowering environment for fellow research coordinators.

Return to the top

CARRA

Mary Ellen Riordan, BSN
Hackensack University Medical Center

Candidate Bio

Candidate Statement
My name is Mary Ellen Riordan, I am a Research Nurse Coordinator in Hackensack New Jersey.  I have more than 15 years of clinical research experience as well as a member of the CARRA Study Coordinator Advisory Committee (SCAC) and the Research Associate Advisory Committee (RAAC), since 2011.  I am honored to be nominated to the position of Chair of the Research Coordinator Network, and if elected, I intend to serve the 3 year term.

As the Research Nurse Coordinator for Pediatric Rheumatology, my center has consistently been among the top enrolling CARRA sites for the Registry and sub-studies. Working with Justine Griswold, Research Coordinator, we have established best practice workflow to identify and enroll almost every patient seen in our Rheumatology clinic.  We have streamlined our data entry process and consistently produce timely and accurate data.  More recently, I have been the project coordinator for the STOP-JIA and FROST sub-studies.  In these positions I have gained invaluable experience in project management, communication and teamwork. I have come to appreciate the demands and challenges of multicenter projects from both a study management and a site perspective.

As CARRA expands Registry sub-studies and clinic trials, the need for well trained, engaged research coordinators will ensure the success of these projects.  If given the opportunity to chair the Coordinator network, I will work with the vice chair, coordinator leaders and the larger coordinator group to identify research best practices, training and mentoring opportunities, and provide coordinator representation to the CARRA steering committee.

I look forward to working with you to expand CARRA research and provide our patients and their families with answers to their questions and access to new therapies.

Thank you for your support.

Return to the top