Before he entered medical school in 2010, Alex Dew learned all about work/life balance. In 2009 Dew enrolled in SCS’s Master of Science in Clinical Research and Regulatory Administration (now Regulatory Compliance) program, taking as many as three courses a term — while working full time as a program manager in the National Cancer Chemoprevention Group at Northwestern, serving as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, and cherishing time with his young daughter. “That experience helped me adjust my study schedule for medical school,” says Dew, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and history from the University of Iowa. Of course, Dew learned about much more than time management skills in the clinical research program.
“The understanding I gained of how clinical research works has given me a leg up over my classmates in medical school,” says Dew, “and it will give me a major advantage when I enter my medical residency.” Dew, who will begin his residency in the U.S. Army in 2014, notes that “the Army does a tremendous amount of research that has led to medical breakthroughs in areas like surgery, trauma and epidemiology.”
Northwestern’s clinical research program was a natural fit for Dew. “It gave me the freedom to select classes that would best prepare me to be a physician-researcher,” he says. Dew’s courses explored topics such as research design, methodology theories, drug development and regulatory practices. “The emphasis on regulatory compliance is a strong point,” says Dew. “Regulation only tends to become more complicated, and future leaders in clinical research will be in charge of complex regulation.” Dew’s capstone project, a study of ways to recruit more minorities to clinical trials, concluded that one of the most cost effective methods is to place ads on public transportation. That study, with Dew as principal author, was published in the journal Clinical Trials — giving this medical student one more distinction.