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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / July 2021 / UR CTSI’s Office of Clinical Research Welcomes Nicole Mason as New Director

UR CTSI’s Office of Clinical Research Welcomes Nicole Mason as New Director

The Office of Clinical Research (OCR), which is housed within the UR CTSI and supports the administration of clinical research across the University of Rochester Medical Center, is welcoming a new leader next week. After a 10-month search, the office welcomes Nicole Mason as its new director starting August 1.

“I’m excited to welcome Nicole on board to lead the OCR and its strategically important projects,” said Martin Zand, M.D., Ph.D., who is a co-director of the UR CTSI as well as the senior associate dean for Clinical Research at URMC. “Her extensive and varied professional background in clinical care and research makes her an outstanding leader for OCR to connect with and serve the full clinical research community.”

“There are a lot of things the university already does really well. I want to use that as a spring board for growth in a way that is responsive to the community’s needs.” ~ Nicole Mason, Director, Office of Clinical ResearchMason joins the OCR from the university’s Office of Human Subject Protection, where she has served as the executive director of the Research Subjects Review Board for the past two years and as a regulatory specialist for the preceding eight years. In those roles she worked closely with researchers to shepherd their IRB submissions and conducted regulatory reviews of human subject research studies.

Mason also holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Leadership in Health Care Systems. All of these educational and professional experiences, she feels, have prepared her for the OCR director role by helping her understand the needs of the full spectrum of people the OCR serves.

But to start, Mason plans to set her experience aside and just listen. “I have a lot of experience that I can bring to the table, but I want to come in with eyes and ears wide open,” said Mason. “I don’t want to come with preconceived notions.”

Her first order of business will be to conduct a listening tour among institutional leaders and research teams to make sure the OCR is fully supporting their needs. An important group she plans to connect with are current users of the OnCore clinical trial management system, which the OCR has been working to implement at URMC over the past few years as part of the Embark project.  

Mason’s predecessor, Patricia Ames, Ph.D., who left the university last fall to pursue other opportunities, helped establish the OCR and launch the Embark project, which aims to streamline and modernize clinical research management at URMC. That project includes the rollout of not only OnCore, but a full, integrated suite of cutting-edge clinical research management tools.

In addition to Embark, the OCR also runs two services lines: Metrics & Feasibility and Research Finance. The Metrics & Feasibility service line helps research teams identify cohorts of potential study participants to assess the study feasibility, develop meaningful study metrics, and navigate study start up. The Research Finance service line helps teams manage clinical research finances from start to finish – from Medicaid/Medicare coverage and budget negotiations to invoicing, revenue reconciliations, and more.

“There are a lot of things the OCR – and the university – already does really well,” said Mason. “I want to use that as a spring board for growth in a way that is responsive to the community’s needs.”

Michael Hazard | 7/29/2021

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