One of the strong suits of Children’s is pioneering innovation, seeking the answers that others can’t find. And it’s employees such as Research Coordinator, Meredith Capasse who are helping Children’s stay at the forefront of medical discovery. Focusing on craniofacial, neurosurgery, urology and critical care patients, Meredith is the first stop for physicians in those practices who want to start a new study. She assists in organizing studies, managing the day-to-day operations and getting patient families to participate.
5:30 a.m. Meredith’s days start early so she can spend some quality time with her husband before heading into work. “It always starts my day off right to eat breakfast with my husband, even if that means we have to start the day at the crack of dawn,” she says.
6:30 a.m. After a 30-minute drive to the office, Meredith settles in for the day. Usually, she starts by catching up on emails and planning out her tasks.
8:00 a.m. In 2014, Children’s began 209 new research studies and today, Meredith is getting another one off the ground. Most projects Meredith works on are drug studies aimed at proving whether FDA-approved drugs for adults are effective in children. She begins by drafting a timeline, gathering information about the study and filing any paperwork needed to get the study going.
11:00 a.m. Early days mean an early lunch for Meredith. Today, she has a little extra time to sit down and enjoy her lunch break. Usually she finds a quick minute to grab something fast in between her many meetings.
12:00 p.m. Another one of Meredith’s studies is accepting patients, and she has an appointment with a potential family. She usually sees one or two patients per day and meetings last anywhere between one and two hours depending on the study. “The time with the patients is really my favorite part of the job,” she says. “I can remember the first time I ever enrolled a patient in a study. I was a little over-prepared due to my nerves, but on the way back to my office I remember thinking, ‘I can do this.’ I was so relieved after that first meeting because I realized I could do the job I was hired to do and enjoy it.”
2:00 p.m. One of the more difficult aspects of Meredith’s job is coordinating multiple department visits for patients in research studies. This can include managing multiple visits to Radiology, the Laboratory, Pharmacy and clinics. “My background is in biomedical engineering, and I was trained to solve problems,” she says. “I love how this job combines my love for children with critical thinking. It can be a real challenge, but I wouldn’t want to spend my time anywhere else.”
3:30 p.m. Meredith’s day is winding down as she meets with a principle investigator (PI) who has been helping monitor one of her studies. PIs are caregivers who head up research projects to see what improvements can be made in patient care or treatments. “I’m so thankful for the PIs that help with these studies,” Meredith says. “Their commitment to our kids is admirable, and they make my job a lot easier.”
4:30 p.m. Meredith heads straight from work to her church to help out with their youth group. “I love helping with the teens at our church,” she says. “They teach you something new every day.”
7:30 p.m. Sitting down with her husband for dinner, Meredith realizes the scene is reminiscent of her breakfast this morning. “It sounds so simple, but our goal is to start each day together and end each day together,” she says. “We love having time to relax and unwind.”
10:30 p.m. At the end of a long day, Meredith enjoys reading before going to sleep. The rest of the week is busy with friends and activities she enjoys, including cheering on Georgia Tech and going to Braves games. But for now, it’s bedtime.