“Part of what I see as my mission, is to make sure our families are well informed and offered the opportunity to participate in research if that’s what they would like to do,” said an enthusiastic Ellen Greenberg about her role at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center as lead coordinator of the type 1 diabetes research team. “At any one time, we may offer children and adults with type 1 diabetes as many as 15 different research trials—many through the NIH-sponsored Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet study—and we have possibly another ten in the recruitment or follow-up stages. We don’t ever want to hear, ‘how come I didn’t know about that? Why didn’t anybody tell me?'"
Ellen came to the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center with 20 years of experience as a clinical research coordinator in pediatrics—but was new to the world of diabetes research. That was 13 years ago, and since then, she has participated in 30 different type 1 diabetes research studies—and has watched the field explode. “When I first came, we were doing very few type 1 diabetes research trials,” says Ellen, who earned her masters degree in microbiology from Columbia. “Now, the very best clinical trials in the country for type 1 diabetes are offered at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. We’re a leader in diabetes research. It’s been exciting to watch this field grow.”
Not only have the number of type 1 diabetes trials increased, but the nature of the research is constantly changing as well. “Now there’s a big emphasis on prevention, stem cell research, and immunological clinical trials,” said Ellen who is also the lead coordinator for the Type 1 Diabetes Exchange, a new multi-center registry for patients with type 1 diabetes. “It’s just been amazing. We never get bored, we’re always learning and getting involved.”
Ellen’s other passion is being with her family and friends at her lake house in the Adirondacks. She loves to hike, run, kayak and fish—“fresh water, bass and fly fish,” she smiled. “I can be fly-casting or in my kayak on the lake surrounded by the mountains and I say to myself, ‘I’m so lucky to be able to appreciate what’s around me.'”