Conversation with CRC Dianne Atehortúa Cabal

The second Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) training took place virtually from October 2020 to January 2021. At PRCCI, we have continued to dedicate ourselves to further developing strong research in Puerto Rico. Hosting this training is essential to our mission as an organization and we focus on expanding the pool of trained CRC professionals in PR.

Different from PRCCI’s first version of the CRC training, the participants during this second session were more specifically involved in the medical sciences fields, giving the sessions a more directed approach. Between the two trainings that have occurred, PRCCI, alongside Barnett International, leaders in clinical research training, have instructed over 40 CRCs that have dispersed themselves across diverse fields.

One of the participants was Dianne Patricia Atehortúa Cabal, who is currently a Research Project Assistant for PRCCI. Her experience is very unique coming from growing up and studying in Colombia.

From a very young age, she sought out to help others. She found that one way to continue that into her career would be through dental care. With a background in dentistry, she already had the basic sciences covered, which helped the way into the course be smoother. Even though both are related to medical sciences fields, their angles are largely different.

“The CRC professional training motivates me to cross barriers, and it inspires me to continue learning.” Dianne shared. For her, the course was extremely well structured and provided a useful merge of her proficiencies.

As Dianne referenced the saying in Spanish, “there is still fabric to be trimmed.” She aspires to incorporate her background in dentistry and her CRC training with potential research opportunities. All the learners left with a deepened perspective of what it means to be a CRC.

With the course, she gathered countless tools and knowledge.

“I felt enriched with experiences, even if I had not had them firsthand,” she said and also explained how the timeliness of the training helps. “Everything is so up-to-date, which makes it [the course] more attractive.”

Attending this training pushes forward the importance of clinical trials, giving potential opportunities for everyone involved. Dianne explains it as “Research is something we know happens but when you study it in-depth, the mind is opened to infinite possibilities. It’s the wow factor.”

A commitment for processes and order, she is centered on organization, dedication, and teamwork. Receiving this training was unusual but effective. “I’m so grateful for how it was set out. There were questions that blew my mind! Sometimes I’d stay up until 2 am reading just because I wanted to know more and more.” Dianne said. “I love challenges,” she added with a chuckle. During her personal time, she also dedicates herself to creative processes such as variations on jewelry, which help her develop her manual labor as well as express herself. Even though it is rare to consider, this hobby influences her CRC work due to the skills needed. “It’s all a process, they both feel familiar,” she said. The comfort she finds in organization intertwined with her undeniable passion keeps her journey open.

For Dianne, it all translates into dedication and excellence in the work she produces. Merging her past experiences and her present training, Dianne is building a future the way she wants it. “My life is now divided into before and after the CRC course. I live pleased for this and thankful for the excellent work done by trainers Ana Lucca and Astrid Diaz together with a support team.” Dianne expressed genuinely.