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From Healthcare Technician to Clinical Researcher 

Anuradha Bangaley helped to improve cancer care in Uganda, then used her Clinical Trials Management certificate to launch her career at home.

Written by Philip Baker
Anuradha Bangaley

Anuradha Bangaley, MSGH, MA, was certain that the clinical research profession was where she wanted to be, but in order to join it, she needed a specific set of skills she did not yet possess. 

With a master’s in Global Health, Bangaley had a deep grounding in the academic side of healthcare that spanned epidemiology, research methods, and biostatistics. This theoretical knowledge gave her important insight into the processes she encountered every day at work as a laboratory technician: drawing blood, processing specimens, and serving as a liaison for the various off-site specialty labs.

While in Uganda, she had studied the lagging treatment and care given to cervical cancer patients. She researched possible approaches to diagnosis and prevention, even meeting with the CEO of Uganda’s cancer institute to seek new solutions. Before leaving, she created a training module for community healthcare workers that is still in use today.

“That is when my journey started and how I began to dig more into the research side of things,” says Bangaley. “I was extremely eager to work in the research field when I returned to the United States. But even if I had the education, I still needed the particular knowledge and certification for the research role. That’s when I began searching for programs that could teach me the required skills.”

Very quickly, she discovered the Clinical Trials Management and Regulatory Compliance certificate offered by University of Chicago Professional Education. The certificate was designed specifically for professionals seeking the skills necessary to understand and take part in the world of clinical research. For Bangaley, it was exactly what she was looking for.

A new process

Bangaley was impressed by the program instructors, all professionals in the field with cutting-edge knowledge. In addition to professional expertise, the instructors offer students their personal experience navigating the latest regulations, methods, and processes. 

“There are so many processes, and so many steps to so many processes,” she says. “And then each process has its own terminology and its own role. It’s not simple. You have to follow the guidelines, protocols, everything. There’s a system to research, and it is essential that you know it and follow it for the safety of the human subjects we work with.”

Bangaley says that the material she learned in her classes gave her the confidence to start searching for and eventually find a position in the clinical research profession. Presently, she is a clinical research coordinator in the oncology department at Advocate Aurora Health.

“Now that I’m in the field, I can see even more clearly why I needed to acquire these skills before starting,” she says. “The certificate familiarized me with the knowledge and resources. It also gave me the confidence to understand all day-to-day operations. Each of the six core classes I took for the certificate taught me things that I apply to my current role.”

Charting a future path

In addition to her classes and instructors, Bangaley valued the experience of interacting with her classmates taking the certificate alongside her. She welcomed the interactivity of the online learning environment and the busy discussion board, where students share their thoughts and opinions. 

“All the other students earning the certificate are more than just students, they are also professionals,” says Bangaley, who also serves on the student advisory board for certificate programs at University of Chicago Professional Education. “I’m from the technical side of healthcare, someone else comes from research, there are IT guys doing back-end work on data, and there are also doctors taking the course to learn how to conduct a research study. It is amazing to get the perspective from the technical side, the doctor side, and the research side. Just learning from each other is amazing.”

Having completed the certificate and found a new job working in the clinical research profession, Bangaley achieved a major goal she set out for herself. But it will not be her stopping point, she says. In fact, she is already charting her path into the future.

"Eventually I will take everything I have learned in research and apply that to public health,” she says. “For now, however, I am happy. The UChicago Clinical Trials Management and Regulatory Compliance certificate was perfect for me. Not only was it pivotal for getting me my current job, but I continue to use the knowledge and skills I acquired every day.”

Woman scientist working in a lab.

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