Christine Senn wants to get more local people involved in medical research.
"I know some are wary of being part of a clinical trial but they really don't need to be," she said.
Senn is chief implementation officer at Columbus Regional Research Institute on Talbotton Road.
The institute is a clinical research organization seeking volunteers to participate in research studies for investigational medications associated with a variety of health conditions.
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Current trials include complicated urinary tract infections, diabetic painful neuropathy, gout, COPD, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, atopic dematitis and chronic lower back pain.
"We do a lot of work with cardiology and with serious skin infections," Senn said.
The best part for participants is they receive medicine at no cost.
Senn said in its 10 years of existence, the institute's work has played a key role in 20 medications receiving Food and Drug Administration approval.
The institute works with clinics and pharmaceutical companies around the world.
Pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers provide funding for research done here.
Jeff Kingsley is CEO of the company of which he is co-founder. Originally Southeast Regional Research Group, the name changed in 2013 after Columbus Regional Health acquired a 40 percent ownership interest.
Not only does she seek patients as volunteers, but Senn also recruits local physicians to get involved with the research.
In April, Senn was honored with an international award for her work.
At a global conference in Salt Lake City, Senn received the Outstanding Leadership in Clinical Research and a Clinical Research Coordinator Award from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, which has more than 13,000 members in more than 70 countries.
"I was really surprised," she said of the prestigious honor.
Senn described her job as "rewarding and fulfilling."
She said she has seen medications work so well on participants that they have cried with joy.
Senn said patients receive a lot of personal attention and get all the help they need.
"Patients receive medical care in research trials that is almost unheard of these days," she said.
She said people who wish to participate in a trial do not need to be referred by a physician.
"They can just walk in," she said.
A thorough study of one's medical condition and history is done to see if the person qualifies. There are a lot of forms to be filled out and tests to be taken.
Senn said medical research has three phases. The institute here does not do animal research or research on healthy people. It only deals with phase three, working with people who have a serious condition.
She said it is tough when the trial is over and the patient must stop taking a drug that has been providing relief.
"We get very close to our patients. They become like family," Senn said.