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Meet Doreen, a Project Leader focusing on patient-centric research

“Being a Project Leader requires considering the patient's perspective and supporting their best interests.“

Picture of Doreen

Join us in exploring Doreen’s journey as a Project Leader at Parexel, where she dives into the company's patient-first focus. Having joined Parexel one year ago, Doreen reveals how this core principle drew her to the organization. We explore Doreen's role as a Project Leader and her personal contributions to upholding the patient-first approach at Parexel. Discover her thoughts on improving patient materials, developing diversity plans, and ensuring studies are patient-friendly.
Additionally, Doreen shares about her onboarding process at Parexel, which provided her with a smooth integration into the team. She also emphasizes her Line Manager's support for maintaining a work-life balance despite busy times, allowing her to enjoy adventures with her children.

Patient-first focus

You mentioned that one of the reasons you joined was Parexel's patient-first focus. How do you experience it in your everyday work?

Many companies claim that it's important for them to put patients first. However, implementing it, making it part of everyday life, and reminding everybody of the importance of patient focus is something I haven't seen anywhere else. At Parexel it’s an ongoing topic ingrained in everybody's work. It's always emphasized that no matter what task you do within the organization, it is part of putting patients first. I believe this concept is well-communicated regularly, and people also apply it in their everyday lives, such as participating in runs for rare diseases or raising awareness for specific conditions. I haven't seen this level of patient-first focus to such an extent in any other company.

How do you feel you contribute as a Project Leader?

As a Project Leader, I believe it's important to ensure that all aspects of the study are considered to make sure that participants and patients feel welcome and heard. I worked on one of the first diversity plans done by Parexel for the FDA. I actively participate in creating patient-centric documents and try to put myself in the patient's shoes.

I ask myself, "If I were a patient reading this informed consent document or other patient-facing material,
  • would this be how the patient would like to see it?
  • would it meet the patient's needs?
  • does it consider the demands the patient might have?"

Being a Project Leader requires considering the patient's perspective and supporting their best interests.

Can you change the language or make revisions to reflect a more patient-centric approach?

Yes, I believe it can be discussed and potentially changed. It's important to have conversations with the client or relevant functional leads to understand the reasons behind specific language choices. We should discuss why certain things are addressed in a particular way and explore alternative approaches. There may be cases where guidelines or regulations require a specific approach, but it's always worth discussing ideas and thoughts on how language can better reflect a patient-centric approach.

Can you share about your involvement in writing one of the first diversity plans for the FDA?

Being part of one of the first diversity plans Parexel has written was a valuable experience for me. It allowed me to actively contribute to ensuring that all populations are included in clinical trials. The plan addresses the need to gather data on diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds for various conditions to support patients worldwide. While the diversity plan for the US is not mandatory yet, I believe it is a valuable recommendation and will likely be followed in the future. As a new employee at the company, it was nice to be part of something new and exciting that everyone had to learn about.

Onboarding & Work-life Balance

How was your onboarding experience at Parexel?

The onboarding process was intense, as there was a lot to learn. However, I appreciated the structure of the onboarding program. It included training on standard operating procedures (SOPs) as well as sessions specifically for Project Leaders. These sessions allowed us to get to know each other and provided a platform to ask questions related to Project Leadership. It made me feel welcomed and supported as a new employee.

Have you felt integrated into the team working remotely?

Yes, I feel fortunate to be part of a team that works closely and communicates regularly. This project involves several individuals, and we have daily calls and exchanges. Working together as a team, even remotely, makes me feel integrated and not alone. While the experience may be different for other projects, personally, I have not felt isolated thanks to the strong teamwork and ongoing communication.

How do you feel about work-life balance at Parexel?

If you had asked me a month ago, I might have said it is challenging, but now I feel it's manageable. As a Project Leader, workload and intensity can vary depending on the study and project demands.
So, you can have very stressful times, and this was a topic my line manager brought up pretty much at the first or second meeting we had. She made it clear that if I feel overwhelmed or overworked, I should communicate it so that we can adjust. This acknowledgment of the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not something you hear often. I appreciated that a lot because I do have family and kids and sometimes you do have other demands and you must prioritize those as well. It's good to know that somebody has your back and says, “Look, that's fine and we can prioritize what has to get done and what can wait.” That was very reassuring.
Overall, I believe Parexel allows for a good work-life balance. I have time to enjoy adventures with my kids, which is important to me.

Do you consider yourself an adventurous person?

Yes, I do consider myself an adventurous person. I often go on adventures with my kids and enjoy exploring new experiences, which can be trying out strange recipes, finding fossils or doing sports together. Being curious and open to new things has also helped me bring different perspectives to my role as a Project Leader. Sometimes, my curiosity leads me to ask questions that might be considered out-of-the-box, but I believe this can be beneficial in finding innovative solutions and fostering a patient-centric approach.

Do you want to work with Doreen? 

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