Raising Awareness of Clinical Research as a Life-Changing Profession

LaShonda Gordon, Merck

LaShanda Gordon, Senior Informed Consent Specialist, Merck

Like a surprising number of people working today as clinical trial practitioners, LaShanda Gordon didn’t know the industry was an option until a few months before she somewhat accidentally launched her ultimately successful and rewarding career in the field.

“I was 21 before I even knew clinical research existed,” Gordon recalls today in her current role as a senior informed consent medical writer at Merck.

She learned about the world of clinical trials as a profession at an on-campus career fair. Gaining interest in the field, she began researching and networking to learn more. “I worked in the alumni office at my alma mater, University of Alabama in Huntsville, and I was introduced to an alumni board member who was a pharmaceutical sales representative to learn more about her work”, Gordon says. “The job fair introduced me to the field, but networking with an actual person in the field brought the work to life for me in a very real way.”

Gordon agrees that stories like hers highlight the need for more education and raised awareness of clinical trials as a great STEM occupation. In fact, you can call her a big advocate of clinical research as a life-changing occupation.

“I never get bored and I’m always faced with exciting new challenges,” Gordon says. “What I do matters. I know my work is helpful to people to improve health literacy and access to health-literate information. Health literacy is an issue that impacts us all in some way, especially among underserved populations.”

Surrounded by like-minded colleagues equally dedicated to finding ways to help alleviate suffering and extend the quality of life for everyone, Gordon feels lucky to have landed where she is today. “I’ve found my tribe,” she says.

Gordon and her colleagues will share insights from their career journeys and best practices learned along the way during a March 16 ACRP Webinar, “Merck Journeys: Opportunities to Invent for Life—Clinical Trial Operations.”

Author: Michael Causey