Her colleagues have described the Berrie Center’s Patricia Kringas, RN, MA, CDE, as a master at multi-tasking and an expert at getting things done. Pat coordinates type 2 diabetes clinical research trials at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center—and recruits, manages, cares for and follows the hundreds of adults, children and adolescents who participate in studies at the Center. Pat also developed and now directs the Berrie Center’s notable patient education programs—an impressive array of daily classes (many required) and monthly workshops designed to help people live better with diabetes.
“I was recruited to the Berrie Center in 2000 and it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Pat who has worked at Columbia University Medical Center since 1976, beginning in neurology as a staff nurse and working her way up in various departments to assistant head nurse, head nurse, nursing educator, supervisor and finally research nurse in the Irving Center for Clinical Research, where she was prior to joining the Berrie Center. “I just seized the opportunity and never looked back. Today the Center is world-renowned and clinical research is embedded into everything we do. We are on the map. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I come to work to remember that I am part of this incredible team.’”
A Master’s Degree in Nursing Education from NYU in 1980 shaped Pat’s career as a nurse, allowing her to pursue an interest in clinical research, which turned into her passion. Her first large-scale, multi-centered, NIH-funded study for the Berrie Center was the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Study. Completed in 2008, the study is now in an observational follow-up study called ACCORDION.
“People love this study,” said Pat of the 107 adults with TD2 she originally recruited for the study almost 10 years ago. “Wherever they are, they come back to see me. Some people moved to Florida, Texas, Michigan and faraway lands, and they still come back to see me. I know them, their life struggles, challenges and celebrations. I know about their issues at work and at home, I know about their retirements and their kids and their kids’ struggles and challenges. It’s a very unique position to be a nurse research coordinator. I get to take care of people over a long period of time and follow their development through life. I love it. That’s why I’m a nurse.”
Pat was the fourth of six children born into an Irish Catholic family from the Albany area of New York. She admits to being “just an average student” but applied her can-do spirit and impenetrable optimism to everything she set out to accomplish. “I wanted to be a candy striper when I was 14-years-old,” she said about the path that lead her to the Berrie Center.
Pat and her husband live in Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County in the house where they raised their three children. Their daughter has pursued a career in nursing, and her two boys are still in college. “I’m action oriented,” said Pat—who enjoys hiking, swimming, kayaking, snowshoeing, camping, arts & crafts and baking. She still laughs at the time she took 65 Girl Scouts camping in upstate New York—she was her daughter’s Girl Scout leader for 8 years—and the other mothers were reluctant to sign on for the big job. “I was able to get each of them to do one thing for the troop to make the camping trip or activities successful,” she said. “I think I still draw on the skills I used as a Girl Scout leader,” said Pat.
All of the studies Pat coordinates are in various stages of the research process. In addition to the ACCORD follow-up, Pat is now coordinating the follow-up for the kids and adolescents with type 2 diabetes who participated in the Today Study. Called Today 2, she is also recruiting for the Today Genetics and recently started a study for teens with type 2. Pat is also gearing up for a new NIH-funded study called Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes (GRADE) Study which is in the initiation and start-up phase.
To learn more about these studies, click here to send an email to Pat.
Click here to support clinical trials and studies at the Berrie Center.