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Staff Spotlight: Lisa Gauger

Friday, July 8, 2016

This week’s spotlight interview  shines on Lisa Gauger, the research practice manager for the Neurology Clinical Research Oversight unit, (NCRO, or Neurology CRU). Gauger talks to us about negotiating and managing budgets for clinical trials within the Department, being a Tarheel in Blue Devil country, and a few secrets she’s picked up about Mark Stacy, MD after working with him for more than two decades.

How long have you been at Duke? How long have you been with the Neurology Department?
I first worked at the Duke division of Neurology from 1982-1984 as a Research Tech in Neurology  for Jim Davis in one of those little red brick buildings on the VA campus; I think my old building was torn down. I then moved to Tampa, Florida and worked in the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center for 18 years (This is where I crossed paths with Mark Stacy – he was in Phoenix, but we collaborated on some PD trials). My husband Bill and I had 3 kids while in Florida, then our family moved back to North Carolina in 2002. I then returned to work at Duke Neurology in April 2003, about the same time Mark started.

What are your responsibilities within the Department? What does a typical day for you look like?
I am the Research Practice Manager for the Neurology CRU. Every day is different; this is the beauty of my position. Some days I am in clinic running a Parkinson’s disease trial, seeing patients and interacting with the clinical care team; some days I negotiate budgets with pharmaceutical companies for multiple sclerosis, ALS, stroke, epilepsy, myasthenia gravis, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, etc.

Other days, I attend meetings with groups in the School of Medicine to discuss clinical research within Duke. We have an incredible team in the Neuroscience Clinical Research Organization (NCRO). Our team of clinical research coordinators, clinical research nurses and regulatory personnel along with our PIs are the envy of all other CRUs.

We (the NCRO) have recently taken on the responsibility of many of the studies within the Department of Neurosurgery. This has absorbed a bit of my time, as I learn more about the start-up process for these type of studies, along with learning to budget appropriately for them.

You’ve known Mark Stacy for more than 25 years. What’s one thing that you know about him that most others don’t?
I will never tell, as he probably has more on me. I do think that secretly he pulls for UNC when they play Duke.

What passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
Living vicariously through my kids  - - Kelsey, 24, who lives in Boston; Laura, 23, lives in Reston, Va, and Hank, 19, who attends Wake Forest and plays soccer there. I am also a sports fanatic – I never miss a soccer match; follow college basketball (Go Heels--I am a Tarheel born and bred) and the NFL. I love a good glass of wine. I still run a bit, but not as far, not as fast.

Gauger (right) with daughters Laura (left) and Kelsey (middle).