Meet Reyad Oueijan: Senior Clinical Research Associate
"I think 'We Care' means owning the work that you do. Whether you're on-site or behind the screen and reviewing data, it's important to have responsibility for that work and make sure you do it the best you can."
Reyad Oueijan, Senior Clinical Research Associate (Sr. CRA), shares about his role and team, how Parexel gives flexibility to its employees, and how he keeps the patient at the heart as a CRA.
- Please introduce yourself and your role at Parexel.
Hi! My name is Reyad Oueijan and I'm a Senior Clinical Research Associate (CRA) with Parexel, and have been working here for almost 7 years.
- What are the core responsibilities of your team/department?
As a CRA, my core responsibilities are source document review (SDR) of the data that comes into the clinical trials and source document verification (SDV). SDR is very critical for my position because I am reviewing the paperwork, also called the source notes, of the study participants to ensure that everything aligns with the protocol and to make sure that there is a 100% match between what is written down by the site and what they transfer to an electronic system.
- What traits and skills are needed to be successful as a CRA?
I think the ability to self-organize, being able to prioritize tasks to be able to determine what's most important and what needs to get done at that moment, and being able to be a little bit flexible are very important to success as a CRA. Sometimes you can get caught off guard because some information doesn't come up until you're doing your work on-site, and then all of a sudden priorities need to shift. A little bit of creativity also helps when trying to do some of these tasks.
- How would you describe what it’s like to work in your team/department at Parexel?
There's a lot of independence, but you also have a very reliable team that you can fall back on if you ever have any questions or encounter situations that you don't know how to handle by yourself. In a lot of my day-to-day work, I work with the sites independently; whether it's one-on-one site visits, emailing, phone calls, or sending them reminders. But if I am ever sent a question or I run into a situation that I'm not familiar with or that requires a little expertise that I don't have, like a medical question, we have support from the Medical Monitors and Project Leads. They have a very deep understanding of the procedures, so I can always rely on them if I need help with anything.
- What excites you most about the work you do as a team?
I always see the work that we do as helping people. Although we don't have direct patient contact, when talking with the PIs or the coordinators about a new study that they think would be helpful to their patient population, there is always a bit of excitement.
- Are you part of any committees? If so, which ones and how has Parexel supported you?
I take part in the Wisdom Circles. They're a career-focused group that helps with managing my role and responsibilities as a CRA, but also helps me develop the skills I need to make a lateral transition in my career if I wanted.
- How does Parexel support your work/life balance?
Parexel supports flexibility in a couple of different ways. Right now, as a Senior CRA, I have a lot of independence, which I think has been good for me. When I started as a CRA I and moved to a CRA II, I had a lot of oversight, which I think was helpful at the time. I had either a biweekly or weekly meeting with my manager just to touch base on my studies and ask any questions I had, which helped me a lot. With my current position being more independent, it has allowed me to become a bit more efficient. Plus, it's nice that I can pretty much work from home! Parexel set me up with a standing desk, printer, work phone, and anything else I needed to help with my job. Throughout the summer, we did this program called Summer Fridays, which is where if you work an extra hour each other day throughout the week then you can take a half day on Friday!
- In your opinion, what makes a great leader and how have you tried to implement that into your leadership style?
I think a great leader is the kind of person who takes the time to engage with the people that they're working with, understand their skillset, figure out their strengths and weaknesses, and try to help if needed. All of my managers have been great leaders and have given me good advice for how to handle different sites and studies.
- How do you keep the patient at the heart of everything you do?
As a CRA we don't have direct contact with the patients, but rather we're one step away from the patients by working with the site staff, the coordinators, and the PIs. The way I keep the patient first is by taking care of whatever need the coordinators and the PIs have. They're the ones working directly with the patient, they're the ones administering the drug, they're the ones identifying the patients, and they're the ones that the patients may see during lifetime of the study. So, whatever the coordinators or PI needs – whether it’s helping to get tasks done, explaining the protocol more thoroughly, or getting equipment ordered - that is how I keep the patient first by just having a good rapport with the site staff and prioritizing their needs.
- What does the Parexel brand promise “We Care.” mean to you?
I think "We Care" means owning the work that you do. Whether you're on-site or behind the screen and reviewing data, it's important to have responsibility for that work and make sure you do it the best you can. At the end of the day, we're the first people looking at the data and making sure that what's written on the site's source notes matches what's in the verification system. It's important for us to really engage with that work, to ensure the study participants are qualified, that their qualifications are listed, and that we can verify those qualifications. I really think owning that work ensures that we can provide the best quality when it comes to that data verification and trial efficiency.
- How has Parexel supported you?
Parexel as a company and all my managers have been very supportive throughout my career. My first manager really helped me lay the foundation for my work ethic and the expectations of moving through the CRA pathway. Then when I moved on to my second manager where I became a CRA II, I was given a lot of trust and flexibility once we got to know one another. Now with my third manager and making my transition to Senior CRA, she maintains a pretty hands-off approach but still being available if I have any questions. Overall, my managers have all taught me different skill sets and helped me grow to advance.
- Do you feel you can be your true self at Parexel?
Yeah, definitely. One thing about me is I'm a gay man and I've never felt uncomfortable about that. When I talk with my managers and we talked about work, and sometimes about our personal lives, I've never felt I had to shy away from that or test the waters. I've never felt that it might be dangerous to me or my career if I outed myself to my manager or a coworker. I've found everyone to be very supportive of that fact.
- What do you enjoy when you’re not at work?
My two biggest passions when I'm not working are cooking/baking and Dungeons and Dragons. I really enjoy baking macaroons because they have a complexity to making them, but they are also very simple ingredients, which makes mastering them very exciting!
- What is your untrainable superpower?
I would say it’s my drive to be the best person I can be, whether it’s with people I know or someone I just met. I just want to be unrelentingly kind to everyone.
- What habits, behavior, or beliefs have you recently acquired?
Recently, I've been writing down steps to anything I'm doing. I usually have notepads or sticky notes all around my house, or I keep them in a bag on hand, and whenever I'm getting ready to start something, I usually just jot down a couple of quick steps on how I did it. This helps me to visualize my workflow and is a reference to what I'm doing and my next steps.
Do you want to work with Reyad and his colleagues? Look for available CRA opportunities here.
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