Conference Cameo: Toyin Babarinde

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates.

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Who: Toyin Babarinde, PhD, Associate Director of Research Planning and Development
Where: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Number of years in research development: 14
Length of NORDP membership: 1 year
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, particularly the ceiling

While I did not realize it at the time, in retrospect, I started in Research Development Staff portraitwhile working on my PhD at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Over the last 14 years, I have worked with a diverse group of talented investigators across various cancer types, including brain, breast, and head and neck cancer. During this period, I have contributed to the development of various research initiatives through research design and implementation, which led to the successful development of peer-reviewed manuscripts and federal and nonfederal funded grants.

In 2015, I transitioned into a “formalized” Research Development role at MD Anderson and have since advanced into my current position as Associate Director of Research Planning and Development. To date, my proudest achievement has been the co-development of the Cancer Research Administration and Management Certificate Program through the MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, a curriculum designed to train and develop outstanding Research Development Professionals. Throughout my career, I have served as a mentor and educator to undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate trainees, as well as research administrators.

I was introduced to NORDP by Dr. Brooke Gowl during an SRA Conference in 2016. I immediately joined and attended my first NORDP conference in 2017.  What I loved most about my experience at NORDP were the people I connected with and the opportunity it provided to build meaningful relationships. The connection I made with Dr. Joanna Downer during NORDP directly impacted my role in the development of research programs within my department as a result of her excellent input.

Additionally, the content provided during the workshops has been most helpful in my own career path.  During the session on RD Strategies to Engage and Promote Faculty Flourishing, I took away several points including: 1) develop the ability to engage faculty by building relationships; 2) understand that specific groups of faculty have different needs and as such, it’s important to customize my approach for each group; and 3) it is important to identify and re-engage disconnected researchers. With a core responsibility of working with key stakeholders to expand the research portfolio of my department, I have taken what I learned during the 2017 NORDP conference to improve my engagement with program members, discuss funding opportunities with engaged and disconnected researchers, and provided guidance and support for proposal development.

This year, I look forward to reconnecting with colleagues, expanding my network, learning more about research development, and identifying how best to contribute to the growth of NORDP.  For those attending this year, remember that building relationships is more than introducing yourself to new people. Following up with them after the conference is over is when the true networking begins.

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We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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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