Academic Medicine Member Cameo: Jessica Moon

Who: Jessica Moon, Ph.D.
Where: University of Arizona
Number of Years in RD: 3
Length of NORDP Membership: 3

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?Moon - NORDP Photo 2019.jpg

Early in graduate school, I realized that, instead of remaining at the bench, I wanted to combine my scientific background with my expertise in writing consultation. By happenstance, I attended a presentation by the grant proposal manager at my institution and knew it was the right fit. She introduced me to NORDP, and I began networking to determine how its members started in RD, their backgrounds, and skillsets, etc. to carve out a career development plan for myself. I was a scientific/technical editor of biomedical manuscripts for an editing company for a few years and then eventually started a small freelance business providing writing consultations on scientific proposals and manuscripts for research faculty. After obtaining my PhD, I moved to Arizona to be with my husband and obtained my current position as a Research Development Associate at the University of Arizona. As the biomedical science expert in our unit, I primarily support proposal development for the five health science colleges at UA—the College of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), the College of Nursing, the College of Pharmacy, and the College of Public Health.

What makes working at an academic medicine institution unique?

Academic medicine institutions seems to have a lot of siloed units, which makes it difficult to determine the effective lines of communication. Sometimes the lines are really obscure, such as a group of faculty that go running every day from 12–1 pm. Thus, institutional knowledge is construed as “insider information.” Moreover, the distinction between the medical center and the affiliated institution is sometimes blurry, which makes it difficult for faculty to determine where to find the right support in developing their research programs.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

I attended many of the NORDP NE regional meetings before finally attending my first NORDP National meeting in Denver, CO.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?

When I moved to AZ, I wanted to stay involved in NORDP, so I looked up local members on the directory. I reached out to the Director of UA Research Development Services, Kim Patten, and learned that the unit was hiring for my current position. “The job posting closes tomorrow”—it was the quickest CV and cover letter I’ve ever written.

I recently became involved with the Affiliated Medical Centers (AMC) affinity group and have been impressed and enthused by the caliber of discussion and willingness of its participants to share knowledge.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

As mentioned above, the NORDP community was very welcoming and supportive of my career goals. The numerous discussions with fellow members allowed me to carve out a successful career path to RD. I am excited to be involved in the AMC group and attend the NORDP National 2020.

How do you see that NORDP functions as a resource for RD professionals coming from academic medicine contexts?

NORDP is the primary venue to learn and share best practices about RD. It’s helpful to hear how different RD units tackle the same goals in unique ways depending on the needs/structure of their institution.

What recommendations do you have for members – particularly RDPs working in an academic medicine setting — to get more involved with NORDP?

The NORDP Regional meetings are a good place to start if you are in an area that has regular meetings outside of NORDP National, because they’re smaller and, thus, easier to network and find opportunities for becoming involved. At the national level, the Peer Mentoring Group and the affinity groups are helpful for building relationships and starting to think strategically about advancing career goals and best practices to support faculty.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

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.