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Paula Glover

Paula Glover, MPS, has been working with the Department in the Division of Pulmonary Diseases & Critical Care Medicine for over three years. Recently, she has become involved in the ONE UNC Clinical Research Initiative. Paula is looking forward to one day visiting Japan and has a furry friend named Bunny… you may be able to guess what animal he is. 

What’s your role and how long have you been a part of our Department?

I am a clinical research specialist working as the lead study coordinator and portfolio manager for the Pulmonary Hypertension Program here at UNC-Chapel Hill. I have been with the Department (Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine: Medicine-Pulmonary) since June 2018. 

Where are you from? 

I am from many places! I was a military kid growing up, so I’ve lived in a few east coast states. Before living in North Carolina, I attended college in Philadelphia, PA at UPenn (after moving from my previous hometown of Douglasville, GA). 

What originally attracted you to work at UNC Department of Medicine? 

I had a lot of interest in medical science and research throughout college and graduate school, so a position working within the Department of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill seemed like a natural fit. UNC-Chapel Hill is a very large and well known research institution—working withing the Department in the field of clinical research was helpful in building my experience with research management and administration broadly, and has provided me with many opportunities to share in the patient-provider relationships present in the clinical space. 

What is the most interesting project you’ve been a part of so far? 

The most interesting project I’ve worked on since joining the Department has been my work on a COVID-19 sample collection project developed under Dr. William Fischer and Dr. Dirk Dittmer during the pandemic in Spring 2020. At the time, our industry-sponsored trials had just been put on hold due to the quarantine requirements and concerns about patient safety, so departmental leadership asked me (as well as two other research specialists) to help in organizing and implementing the project. It was interesting to work on this project, as it was my first investigator-initiated study, and so required skills that were somewhat still new to me. It also was the first time I had interacted heavily with MICU patients and staff for research. Trying to develop methods of sample collection remotely via the hospital staff due to hospital restrictions in context of seeking consent from sick patients and their Legally Authorized Representative (LARs) was sometimes a challenge, but it helped me to understand more about research implementation and the demands of research organized within high-stress environments like the MICU. 

What do you enjoy most about working here? 

I really enjoy the atmosphere of working at an academic medical center! Working in medical research is interesting because it lets you traverse two worlds, the academic research world (Department of Medicine) and the clinical practice world (UNC Health). I think having the ability to understand the interaction between the clinical space and implementation of research is very unique, and will give me great experience and understanding as I continue to develop in my career in clinical trials. 

How has your role evolved over time since you’ve been here? 

I think I’ve grown considerably in my role since I started with the Department in June 2018. At the time, I had just begun my Master’s program here, and so was working part-time. I would say that the first year and a half was spent on receiving training and guidance from, who was then, the current lead research specialist of the Pulmonary Hypertension Research group. When she left the Department in January 2020, I took over the lead specialist role and added on the duty of portfolio management as well. Since the transition of program leadership, I’ve assumed a lot more responsibility over the health of our research program and now have added managerial and supervisory duties through my teaching of newer pulmonary research specialists, work study students, and interns in clinical research administration skills. 

What is one thing that you wish people knew about your job? 

I think one thing that I wish people knew about my job is just exactly how many hats you get to wear in my area of research! I really like having the ability to see patients and interact with the providers in the clinical space. I also really like being able to have the ability to work in more administrative, and teaching/advisory roles. There’s also room for on the job learning, particularly in acquiring clinical skills like reading results reports in Epic, and in acquiring scientific knowledge such as disease mechanisms. All in all, each day is unique in what I need to do, so I never feel stagnant! 

What are you most proud of, personal or professional? 

I am most proud of being invited to participate in the ONE UNC Clinical Research Initiative that began this year. When I first began working within the Department, I never would have thought that I would have enough expertise to help weigh in on matters related to research administration. I appreciate that others find me to be qualified enough to participate in such a great project and to give my honest feedback in brainstorming ways to improve research here at UNC-Chapel Hill. My extra involvement has made me realize that I really care about all aspects of research, even down to the smallest details. 

What’s one thing on your bucket list? 

I would love to visit Japan for an extended trip of about a month. I have been learning the basics of the language and culture slowly over the past 10 years, but having concrete plans towards going would definitely help speed up my desire to become fluent in the language! 

Do you have hobbies outside of work that you enjoy? 

I do! I love crafts, so I do a lot of one-off crocheting projects and holiday projects. Most recently, I created Halloween and Christmas wreaths and created Fall leaf garland using things I pick up at the craft store. It’s really fun and allows you to put mental energy into something methodical, but relaxing. 

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self? 

If I could speak to my younger self, I would say to just always have faith in your abilities. I think I definitely have an inner critic who judges my academic and career goals heavily. Over the years, I think I’ve started to realize that often times, a person will generally end up where they want to go in life if they put in effort, discipline, and have resilience. It’s helped me to understand that, no matter what happens, I can know that I’ve done my best and that whatever happens will ultimately be a result of my efforts. 

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know? 

I have a pet rabbit named Bunny! He’s two and a half years old and is a mixed Lionhead and Rex rabbit. I adopted him during COVID in August 2020 to give me a bit of company during the quarantine period. A fun thing about him is that we share the same birthday and we share the same favorite fruit: strawberries!