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Case study: Celebrating International Women's Day: Q&A with Michelle Just

An interview with Michelle Just, Senior Clinical Trials Assistant at CRN Wessex

What does your role involve?

As a Senior Clinical Trials Assistant for CRN Wessex, I work with partner organisations across our region on a variety of research studies. Every day is different, from working directly with participants and their families to data and administrative support for studies. I can be working in a hospital or GP surgery one day to driving our research buses out into a community setting the next. My role has also given me the opportunity to be involved with public engagement events to raise awareness of health and social care research and inform members of the public about opportunities to take part in research.

What kind of research studies are you working on?

I am currently working on a variety of studies including covid and shingles vaccine trials, a study looking at malnutrition in the over 75 population and a children's eczema study. 

What made you want to work in research?

Having had a complete change of career I came into health care and really enjoyed working directly with the people I met and learning new things. It was a very rewarding role but I wanted to do more and research appealed to me due to the variety of opportunities to personally learn and develop. I wanted to work in this area to help make improvements to the lives of others.   

Why do you think International Women's Day is important?

I think it is vitally important to inspire women, no matter what age, race or background, to remember how important our voice is. That we have amazing skills in life and are stronger, more adaptable and more capable than we are sometimes given credit for. 

Why is it important for more women to work in research?

It is important to have our voices heard and encourage women to bring their wealth of knowledge, experience, ideas and talents to research. Having more women in research will inspire future generations to consider a career in research.   

What does being a woman help you bring to your role?

I think it brings a valuable alternative perspective and level of understanding. 

The theme for this year's International Women's Day is 'Inspire Inclusion'. What advice would you give women and girls to inspire them to consider a career in research?

There is a role for you in research, your contribution matters whether it is taking samples from a cancer patient or discovering the next big cure, you have the talents and ability to make a difference.