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Julia Gottreich began working working as an OrACORe research assistant in the summer of 2021 after graduating from Bowdoin college with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. In her time at OrCORe, Julia led her co-RAs in the operation of the COMET study. Outside of the office, Julia enjoyed running around the city and volunteering with YES. In this departing interview, Julia reflects on her time here and provides some advice for incoming RAs.

Julia pictured after her first Marathon. Photo courtesy of Julia Gottreich.

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

I experienced tremendous professional and personal growth during the transition from my first to second year. In my first year, I was always amazed by the second-year RA’s ability to lead all the clinical projects with such grace and confidence. They were always around to answer my questions and provide me with guidance. As I progressed through my first year, I was gradually given more responsibilities and tasks as I became more familiar with my assigned projects.

At the beginning of my second year, I was nervous to start training the incoming RAs and begin recruitment for the CoMeT trial. Although the work was daunting at first, I started to gain more confidence and develop stronger leadership skills with support from my mentors. The motto at OrACORe is “see one, do one, teach one,” and this is embodied by all the RAs as they transition from their first to second year. It has been very rewarding to pass along my knowledge and skills to the first years as they now transition to become the new leaders. This tradition of peer mentorship will be very applicable to my future career in medicine.

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 that medicine is a team sport, and in order to conduct meaningful research that can improve patient outcomes, strong collaboration and teamwork are needed from all members of the team. At OrACORe, we embody teamwork in everything we do. We collaborate with physicians and researchers from across the country on various trials and studies, and when everyone on our team fulfills their specific responsibilities, we are able to conduct large clinical studies that make contributions to clinical and policy research. This experience has offered me a new perspective on how medicine should always be practiced, and I look forward to pursuing my career with this team-oriented frame of mind.

Julia with RAs Hanna and Paul skiing. Photo courtesy of Julia Gottreich.

What will you miss most about OrACORe/PIVOT?

I will definitely miss the people the most! I thoroughly enjoyed coming to work each morning and collaborating with my fellow RAs on various projects. Being mentored by Jeff, Elena, Morgan, and Faith was an honor and a privilege. I am very grateful to have been a part of the OrACORe community.

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 working at OrACORe has reinforced for me that I want to pursue academic medicine. Working with physicians, nurses, scientists, and biostatisticians has shown me how clinical research requires collaboration amongst professionals from various backgrounds that possess unique skills and perspectives. When planning the CoMeT trial at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we brought together various groups from across the hospital network to coordinate the launch of recruitment and enrollment. By listening to everyone’s ideas and perspectives, we successfully started patient recruitment and enrollment. As a physician, I want to continue working with inter-disciplinary teams that are committed to improving patient outcomes and testing hypotheses with rigorous clinical trials.

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

Take advantage of all the learning opportunities that you have at OrACORe! Time goes by very quickly, and before you know it, you will be doing this interview. Ask lots of questions and get to know your mentors. By working hard and staying actively engaged in the projects and trials, you will leave with a wealth of knowledge.

Julia (third from the left) with other RAs. Photo courtesy of Julia Gottreich.

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

I will miss the RA outings! As a group, we tried to plan at least one RA outing every month, which included activities such as trivia, dinner, or skiing. My favorite RA outing was our trip to Cape Cod in April. It was nice to spend a weekend with my fellow RAs exploring the Cape. Jeff also provided us with lots of helpful recommendations! These outings have provided us with time to connect outside the office and form strong bonds.

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