By Tiffany Kim, MD
I started my CDA in May 2020, about one year ago. There were several unexpected challenges, including the pandemic, delays with getting service contracts set up, and the complicated process of starting up a study from scratch. It took several months to get quotes, find and involve all the necessary people, make final decisions on study measurements, and have my in-service meeting, but I am excited that everything was completed, and I am now enrolling study participants.
This has been a great hands-on experience in learning how clinical research works and how to be principal investigator. I am grateful to the VA Women’s Health Fellowship for giving me the resources to not only generate crucial preliminary data that lead to my study being selected for funding, but also the time to establish important connections with mentors and advisors that will be critical for the success of my project. For fellows who have just had CDAs awarded, I would recommend making local connections with other CDA awardees or early-stage colleagues for advice and moral support. The VA is a big place and each institution is unique, so it is really helpful to troubleshoot with other people who are facing similar issues.