When Joshua Carino started in the Clinical Research Equity Scholars program in 2022, he hoped the program would serve as a stepping stone on his path toward a career in research. Now, Carino is embarking on his first full-time position as a research assistant for the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
The Clinical Research Equity Scholars program is an innovative and transformative partnership between Durham Technical Community College and Duke CTSI that provides Durham Tech students the opportunity to participate in skill-building training activities to integrate equity in clinical research operations and promote diverse representation in clinical research participation, gain hands-on experience working with clinical research teams, and work to address disparities in clinical research by engaging with communities that are underrepresented in clinical trials.
Carino has a background in sociology and clinical trials research and was one of four students accepted into the second cohort of the program. During his time as a scholar, he worked on the PREVENTABLE study, which looks at whether taking a commonly used heart medication could help prevent dementia in older adults. Carino and his fellow scholars presented their final capstone projects this fall.
“The internship has been nothing short of a fantastic opportunity to apply my background in sociology to the clinical research field,” Carino said after presenting his capstone. “I've now gotten to see firsthand the triumphs and shortfalls of including equity practices in the clinical research space. It has motivated me more than ever to push for more diversity and equity in all my future studies and ventures in clinical research and to strive to establish an industry standard for these practices.”
As luck would have it, Carino conducted his first phone interview for the position at the Lineberger Center on the same day he presented his final capstone. He will assume his full-time duties this month.
“I'm looking forward to working with the patient database and learning how to abstract data from Epic and work efficiently with it,” Carino said. “I'm also looking forward to working with patients in clinic. The study that I am on currently is one that I feel will help gently acclimate me to being a research professional, and hopefully prepare for more complex work in the future.”