blog May 1, 2024

What It Means to be a Javara Site Leader, Part One

People, Places, Partnership

The individuals that lead Javara’s site operations across 7 states nationwide play a unique role unlike other leadership positions in the clinical research industry. Because Javara has a unique approach to clinical trial delivery in which our research site staff are embedded in community-based healthcare organizations, we deliver clinical trial opportunities to patients through their trusted physician.

The leaders heading our site teams are paramount to enabling us to realize our mission. They have many hats and often wear them all at once. It takes a special kind of person to do that successfully, and with appreciation for each task at hand. But what does it really mean to be a Javara Site Operations Leader?

For Melissa Nolan, associate director of site operations at Javara HCP Tryon Medical Partners (TMP), oversight of all site activity isn’t limited to the ins and outs of patient visits.

“Assisting with feasibility submissions and recruitment barriers, managing site goals, metrics, and KPI tracking, leading efforts to increase Javara’s diversity among specialties, and advancing opportunities for investigators interested in research are just a few of the many responsibilities site leaders balance on a daily basis,” shared Melissa.

What’s more, these individuals like Melissa are also the liaison between Javara sites and all other facets of both our organization and the respective healthcare partner. They collaborate closely with internal departments including project management, project strategy, site operations and more. Externally, they are in constant communication with sponsors – especially during the study feasibility and study start-up phases – and meet continuously with vendors and leaders of their respective Healthcare Partner to ensure a growth-oriented collaboration and a seamless patient experience. These leaders provide our clinical trial navigators (CTNs) – who are the heartbeat of our organization – with guidance and support, and balance the intricacies of business operations, relationships, and management, so that our CTNs can focus on one thing: patients. Serving as a true extension of the patient’s care team, Javara CTNs fulfill the role of traditional study coordinators while also providing oversight of the patient’s overall health and well-being beyond just study protocol.

At TMP’s Southpark location, the physical space shared between Javara and the healthcare system itself is as fluid as the clinical research collaboration. Javara’s space includes 4 intake rooms and 3 exam rooms on the 3rd floor. There is also a conference room, monitoring room, two manager offices, and a cubicle for each CTN. The nurses’ station, lab area, pharmacy room and breakroom make the office an ideal environment for productivity and efficiency.

Even better, however, is the close partnership fostered by this physical environment. “We have options,” explained Melissa. “Which is incredible. At times, investigators come to our floor to see patients; other times, we take patients to the investigators. Both work great. It’s fluid, continuous. We work together with Tryon in a way that blurs any line between “us” and “them.” That unity is critical to fostering patient trust and delivering a truly exceptional patient experience.”

That unity also doesn’t emerge on its own. It is fostered daily by leaders like Melissa.

When asked to share one thing most people don’t know about the role and responsibilities of site leaders, Melissa responded:

Melissa Nolan“We have many balls to juggle. You must be a great problem-solver; so much of this role is about taking problems and figuring out the solutions. From recruitment barriers to space issues to scheduling and study conduct. The extent of what is required to lead a successful site team is not always visible.”

But in addition to their expertise, resilience, and commitment to our partners and the patients we serve, Javara site leaders have one more thing in common. Passion.

“I absolutely love what I do, and love to see the impact clinical research has on the patients we serve,” Melissa said. “When the job gets stressful (as it most certainly does), I like to take a step back and remember the role I am playing in advancing care options and impacting lives.”

“Then, I like to remind my team to reflect on that too.”