NORDP 2018 Conference Cameo: Heather Chancellor McIntosh

#NORDP2018 starts Monday, May 7 in Arlington, VA. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for live conference updates. Register here:

Who: Heather Chancellor McIntosh, Research Statistician and Staff Director
Where: University of Oklahoma-Tulsa School of Community Medicine
Number of years in research development: 5
Length of NORDP membership: 1
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
How do you unwind? I like to hang out with my husband, new baby, and our two dogs.

I started working in research development when I took a position at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa School of Community Medicine (OUSCM) in 2012. Before that, I worked in a non-profit street outreach program assisting homeless youth. While that position was in direct-care, I always gravitated toward project development, data compiling, reporting and grant writing for the program. I was finishing up a graduate degree in research, evaluation, measurement, and statistics when a position opened at the OUSCM to work with a researcher who studied the health and well-being of the underserved and disenfranchised members of our community.

I started out by managing a community healthMcIntosh_Heather research project and word quickly spread that I had experience and training in project development, project management, study design, and statistics. After a couple of years in an unofficial, central research development position, a central office, the Office for Research Development and Scholarly Activity (ORDSA), was funded, and I was appointed the Staff Director and Research Statistician.

While the road to an official research development (RD) position was unconventional, I’m happy my RD position came about the way it did. It allowed me to foster informal relationships with research faculty and staff, build a reputation for myself, travel abroad to present my work, and gain the trust of many clinical faculty who ended up being my biggest advocates when campaigning for ORDSA.

I heard about NORDP through a colleague. She and I submitted an abstract on how ORDSA was developed and presented it at the 2017 conference. Attending the 2017 conference helped underscore the difference between research development and research administration, a distinction I think many people miss. After attending the 2017 conference, I was determined to spread the word about NORDP and promote ORDSA as a research development, and not research administration, office. This effort has made an enormous difference in our research activity and how we interact with faculty and staff. We have a poster on this very topic this year, so come check it out!

While I’m still quite new to NORDP and increasing my involvement with the group, the NORDP E-list has been invaluable. I have learned so much from my fellow RD colleagues just by reading and interacting with the E-list. This year I have signed up for the NORDP mentoring program, and I am looking forward to being matched with a mentor and, hopefully, meeting her/him at the conference. I am, especially, looking forward to bringing one of my new staff to NORDP with me this year and soaking up as much RD knowledge as I possibly can.

My advice for fellow conference-goers is: Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with people sitting next to you in the breakout sessions or those next to you in line for food. I met a really awesome gentleman last year during breakfast one day. We chatted about our programs and positions, and it really helped me to feel connected to the NORDP community.


We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held May 7-9, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA.  For more information about the conference program or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2018 updates.

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

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