Clinical trials determine how well new medical approaches can serve patients, testing the safety and effectiveness of new treatments and devices. As patient-centered care helps patients assume a more active role in their health, clinical trials can also put patients in the center of the research process, as active participants. Ashwini Roy-Chaudhury, MPH, recently joined the department of medicine as the director of clinical trials, to strengthen the department’s clinical research program and increase patient participation.
“I am a tremendous advocate for research coordination, and I have lots to learn from each division,” said Ashwini. “Because the Eastowne medical office building will be designed to enhance the patient experience and facilitate clinical research, we want to identify what activity is appropriate for the campus. We want to learn how we can make it easy for patients to participate in clinical trials while providing the best environment for staff.”
During her first few months, Ashwini is working to understand the clinical research landscape, meeting with researchers and stakeholders across the department to discover the best ways to optimize every aspect of clinical research and development. She describes her enthusiasm for clinical trials as being deeply rooted in her DNA, striving for the coordinated processes that lead to successful outcomes. When she identifies what works well, she acknowledges the need to “share seamlessly and steal shamelessly.”
“There are many important roles in clinical research, and we want everyone to be able to do what they do best, from the investigator to the coordinator, to the budget analyst and the compliance specialist. I am passionate about collaborating with stakeholders to streamline research operations that will effectively bring new treatments to patient care.”
Carrie Lee, MD, MPH, from the division of hematology and oncology, has also been appointed to serve as the department’s new medical director of clinical trials. Together, they will work to bolster clinical research across the department, working closely with Andrea Carnegie, PhD, John Buse, MD, PhD, the director of NC TraCS, and Andy Johns, the associate vice chancellor of UNC Research.
Ashwini studied psychology in India and received her master of public health from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. After working for the Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston, she spent 16 years with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. With her husband Dr. Prabir Roy-Chaudhury, who recently joined the division of nephrology and is co-director of the UNC Kidney Center, Ashwini came to Chapel Hill from Tuscon, Arizona, after serving as director of clinical research at the University of Arizona School of Medicine.
Ashwini and her husband have three children. They enjoy traveling and return to their home in Mumbai every year.