“I value self-care and flexibility in addition to shared responsibility and excellence.” – Meet Stephanie Katz, Director of Seacole Health
Steph Katz brings a wealth of healthcare knowledge to Seacole Health. Having started as an Oncology nurse on Intensive Care Units, she found her place in Research Nursing in Pediatric Oncology. After achieving her MSN in Nursing Education, Steph applied her knowledge and experience to training research coordinators, clinical nurses and fellows.
After her six years as a Research Nurse she took on a management role, helping to develop and operationalize institutional, federal and commercial clinical research projects. After working in this role for five years, she decided to pursue an MBA to support her goal of a clinical research support position.
Steph first heard of mdgroup when implementing mobile COVID-19 clinical trials at Johns Hopkins University and when an opportunity came to join the team, she leapt at it!
We spoke to Steph about her passion for her work, becoming her own advocate and what makes Seacole Health a great place to work.
What is your role and key responsibilities at Seacole?
I am the Director of Seacole Health. In partnership with the MDGroup executive team, I am responsible for the strategy and implementation of this new business subsidiary. Seacole Health brings MDGroup’s mobile health and clinical research staff resourcing under one roof and I am excited to bring my love of nursing and clinical research together in service of our mission to provide remarkable patient experiences in the decentralized trial space.
What are you most passionate about in your field of expertise?
I am most passionate about making clinical research available to people who have historically been underrepresented in research studies. Offering home visits is an important way to make novel therapeutics available to people who cannot make it to research sites for long visits, like those who live in rural areas, or who take care of dependents at home, or whose work schedules do not align with standard medical office hours.
I am also passionate about ensuring that we honor our participants by collecting the highest-quality data and handling biospecimens exactly as specified in the protocol. They give of themselves for the betterment of humankind and we owe it to them to make sure we translate their experience as accurately as possible.
How do you translate that passion into action in your role at Seacole?
Many healthcare and clinical research professionals suffer burnout and have left the workforce to stay home, travel, or retire early. I want to show our talented and caring healthcare and clinical research professionals that there is a way to make a difference on their own terms by joining Seacole’s flex team. Phlebotomists, research coordinators, nurses, nurse practitioners, and doctors are not restricted to full-time hospital or clinic-based work. We can create remarkable patient experiences by allowing them the ease of conducting in-home research visits.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
As a former Research Nurse, I understand the pain that many sites are feeling in finding qualified research coordinators and nurses to work onsite. I came to MDGroup with a vision to have Seacole Health be uniquely positioned to staff sites directly. Because of the challenges I faced and overcame while I was site personnel, I have been able to anticipate and overcome some of these challenges and bring the Clinical Research Coordinator Support Service line to life.
What value are you hoping to add to support Seacole’s ambitious strategies?
My experience working on the site and sponsor side of clinical research, combined with my 16 years as a Registered Nurse, 8 years as a clinical research trainer and business sense as a soon-to-be MBA, gives me the ability to move Seacole Health forward as a functional business that uniquely meets the changing needs of the post-COVID healthcare workforce.
What has been your biggest learning from all the change experienced within the marketplace during the challenging times of the last 18 months?
I had to learn self-compassion after COVID-19 blew through our lives over the last 18 months. I also learned to advocate for myself. I used to feel like my personal value derived from how well-thought-of I was at work, by my peers or superiors, or even my family. Because I did not see my inherent and immutable value as a human being regardless of performance, I burned a lot of energy working ridiculous hours, madly treading water. I was running COVID clinical trials at a top research site while simultaneously trying to educate my 8-year-old daughter at home – and feeling guilty about all of it. I saw a lot of my peers also succumbing to the overwhelm that comes from attempting to do an impossible task. Taking the time to reset and actively care for myself has allowed me to recognize greater humanity in myself and have greater compassion for others.
What makes Seacole a great place to work?
As a working wife, mother and student, I understand the challenges that come from trying to be everything to everyone and the burnout that comes from perfectionism. I consider myself a recovering perfectionist and I want anyone joining my team to know that I value self-care and flexibility in addition to shared responsibility and excellence. Self-respect means showing oneself enough grace to learn from the difficulties we have all overcome in life and accept ourselves for who we are as human beings.
Seacole is a place where talented people can create new expertise and gather unique experiences in the mobile clinical trials field. We value our team members as whole people with valuable skills and intellectual curiosity, but who also have responsibilities and other dimensions of their humanity that matter to them.
We offer the opportunity to contribute to science; there is nothing like seeing a news headline that a drug you helped bring to market has been approved and is making life better for people around the world. I’ve gotten to experience this recently from the COVID-19 trials I helped to bring to life – and it’s a beautiful feeling.