Academic Medicine Member Cameo: Krista Kezbers

Who: Krista Kezbers Ph.D., Research Development Specialist
Where: University of Oklahoma – Tulsa School of Community Medicine
Number of Years in RD: 2.5 years
Length of NORDP Membership: 1.5 years

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?KezbersHeadshot

I, like many others, got into research development more or less “on accident.” After my PhD, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in research, but I have always had a passion and drive for helping. I found a job as a research development specialist that really combined both research and helping perfectly! I currently consult with faculty, residents, and medical students on potential research projects, assist with research question development, methodology, and statistical design. I also run statistics for research projects and work on manuscript development. Our office as a whole works together on finding, assisting, and submitting grants as well.

What makes working at an academic medicine institution unique?

Working with faculty or students in academic medicine creates an interesting and unique environment. We know that the primary responsibility of academic clinicians is to take great care of their patients while maintaining a high level of knowledge and expertise. We work with these faculty and students to assist them in advancing their research goals while keeping in mind that research may be a smaller part of their career than a traditional faculty member. Academic clinicians are just as passionate about their research areas, but may need additional guidance and support.

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

My boss, Heather McIntosh, first introduced me to NORDP in 2017. She explained it as a community of people who are “just like us” and she was right! We have presented posters together and attended both the 2018 and 2019 NORDP conferences. Last year we started the Academic Medicine/Affiliated Medical Center special interest group in order to find other NORDP members in the community.

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

Being a part of NORDP has provided such a high level of resources and connections. Having the list-serv is a constant reminder that research development professionals truly care about helping each other. I have found that we can reach out to any number of NORDP members just to chat or to get advice/feedback and it has been a welcome addition to my knowledge base. We have also met so many people through the monthly AMC special interest group calls.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

I think in research development it is easy to feel “siloed” because there are not many other people in your local community that do what you do. Being a part of NORDP has allowed me to make connections, but more importantly learn and grow from other RDP’s that I look up to in the field. I feel more confident as a research development professional due to the education and resources available from NORDP.

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

It is nice to have research development conversations with others who understand the medical setting. For me specifically, other academic medicine research development professional have bene able to provide me with situation-specific advice, which I am very grateful to have received.

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

Take a great idea or research project from your office and submit it for presentation at the next NORDP conference. Presenting at NORDP is a great venue for making connections while learning more about the profession.

The Academic Medicine Special Interest Group was created in 2018 with the goal of providing resources and professional development opportunities for research development professionals (RDPs) working with clinician-researchers/educators in an academic medicine or affiliated medical center setting. Often times, RDPs working with clinical faculty face unique challenges including working with researchers who have less formal research training and less protected time to conduct research. With this in mind, our group meets monthly via Zoom to discuss the challenges and successes we face working in this research environment. If you are interested in joining our group, please contact Heather McIntosh at You can also join our Circle, Academic Medicine/Affiliated Medical Center.

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.

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