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Hanna Mass began working as an OrACORe research assistant in the summer of 2021 after graduating from Middlebury College with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. In her time at OrACORe, Hanna led her co-RAs in the operation of the INFORM and PRIDE studies. Outside of the office, Hanna enjoyed skiing and hanging out with friends around Boston. In this departing interview, Hanna reflects on how her time here has impacted her views on medicine as well as she talks about her career goals.

Hanna with her fellow RAs Paul and Mahima before observing a total knee arthroplasty. Photo courtesy of Hanna Mass.

In what ways have you experienced professional and personal growth during your tenure at OrACORe/PIVOT?

While reflecting on my two years at OrACORe, it’s hard to believe how much I have learned and grown in this setting! I have not only learned an immense amount about musculoskeletal disease progression but have also gained a well-rounded understanding of different research processes. Performing literature reviews and contributing to manuscript writing has improved my analytic abilities and capacity to clearly present complicated information and results. Training research assistants in my second year and coordinating the OAPol and INFORM projects gave me the opportunity to grow my leadership skills and I learned how to support other RAs while pushing forward complex projects. Working in this collaborative setting has also allowed me to interact with a wide range of colleagues from fellow research assistants to medical students and physicians, all of whom have provided invaluable advice I will carry with me throughout my career!

How has working at OrACORe/PIVOT impacted your views on the practice of medicine through the lenses of clinical and policy research?

Working at OrACORe has shown me how important research is in informing treatment outcomes and guiding shared decision-making conversations with patients. While watching medical grand rounds and observing physicians practice in the clinical setting, I have realized how many unknowns still exist in medicine, and the extent to which physicians rely on research to close these gaps and provide the best individualized treatment recommendations.

What will you miss most about OrACORe/PIVOT?

Definitely the people! I am constantly inspired by our incredible mentors who have provided invaluable support over the past two years. It has also been a privilege to work with so many wonderful RAs who truly make coming to work everyday fun!

Hanna with her fellow INFORM colleagues Cathy, Jose, Dr. Katz and Dr. MacFarlane. Photo courtesy of Hanna Mass.

What are your career goals and how have they been affected by your experience at OrACORe/PIVOT?

I will be starting medical school this fall and while I’m not sure yet what I plan to specialize in, my experience at OrACORe has inspired me to integrate some form of research into my clinical career. While at OrACORe, being able to work with a range of physicians and patients continues to confirm that medicine is the right field for me!

Any advice for future research assistants considering or starting their tenure at OrACORe/PIVOT?

Enjoy the process and soak up as much as you can! Never be afraid to ask questions and try to engage with as many people as possible. The two years will fly by and you will be moving on before you know it!

What will you miss most about the social side of OrACORe/PIVOT?

I’ll miss getting to see my fellow RAs every day! From trivia outings to weekends on the Cape, we have created a special community both inside and outside of the office and I’ll be leaving OrACORe with lots of fond memories!

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