Vulnerable to Book Club: Why Nicole Kressin Believes in the Value of Different Perspectives

Despite her anxiety about serving on an international committee, Nicole Kressin, RN, MSN, believed in her ideas on how to improve health care for all. His work on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts not only spans the globe, but also right here in Iowa.

Nicole Kressin, RN, BSN

It was these efforts that earned Kressin this year’s Individual Leadership in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award. Kressin is a specialist in clinical research in neurogenetics in the Department of Neurology.

In the interview below, Kressin discusses her work leading a diversity journal club within her department as well as her role in supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. (DEI) with various international organizations.

As a clinical researcher, how can the medical community benefit from reducing disparities in clinical trials?

Addressing disparities within clinical trials is a critical step in addressing disparities in clinical care. Medications and treatments can affect patients of different demographic groups in different ways. Diseases may also present and progress differently in certain populations. Having research data from a population of subjects that truly represents the clinical population is essential if we are to provide equitable care for all.

What inspired you to initiate and lead diversity efforts at Carver College of Medicine and larger organizations, such as the Inherited Neuropathy Consortium and the Clinical Diseases Research Network? rare?

I first joined the new DEI committee in the Department of Neurology. I recognized the disparities in some of the research studies I had worked on before and wanted to do more to help make research participation more accessible to everyone. I knew I had a lot to learn and I didn’t know where to start.

The Inherited Neuropathy Consortium (INC) Diversity Committee needed a leader, so I offered to take the role. The INC is part of a large network through the National Institutes of Health called the Rare Disease Clinical Research Network (RDCRN). The RDCRN is made up of 20 research consortia representing research sites around the world and a wide range of rare diseases. They didn’t have a network-wide diversity committee, so I helped start and lead one. This committee now has approximately 300 members across the network with three sub-committees to address various aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion in rare disease clinical research.

Usually, in research, these efforts are led by someone with a medical degree or a doctorate. I am a non-traditional leader of this type of committee for several reasons. I find there is more interest in joining and contributing to these groups by people who may not have been on such a committee in the past. Sometimes these are the people whose voices are most needed at the table. The ability to draw on a variety of perspectives from people in various research roles – with all levels of education, experience, and coming from diverse personal backgrounds – is what has made these efforts successful.

You have started a journal club for the staff of the Department of Neurology. What sparked this idea?

Members of the department’s DEI committee discussed the idea at our first meeting. We were all new to DEI work and wanted to make sure we educated ourselves in different ways and heard perspectives other than our own. There are so many great books and other resources out there, and we thought we’d learn more if we got together and talked. I was the only one who had been to a book club before, and I love to read, so I volunteered to run it.

What kind of impact do you hope the book club will have?

Those of us who regularly participate in the journal club discussions have worked hard to keep the focus not just on learning, but also on action by using what we learn to improve the way we support our patients. and our colleagues, as well as our friends and loved ones. Our discussions generated countless ideas for simple actions and interventions to better support DCI’s efforts in our department. Our calls generally involve deep and introspective personal discussions. It was intimidating at first! Opening ourselves up to communicating with colleagues in this way has had a huge impact. The most obvious impact is the support, collegiality and friendships that have grown between members, some of whom would not really know each other without the club.

Comments are closed.