by Julie Cleveland
Kirsten Rohde is a research nurse for the University of Washington (UW) Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. For the past 14 years she has been an integral part of the Alzheimerís Disease Research Center, and does a variety of important tasks to ensure the research done at the UW runs smoothly and with quality. Much of her time is spent at ADRC research clinic at the VA hospital, doing research recruitment, assessments, and support. Rohde states "We devote a significant amount of our time to just providing counseling, referrals, and education to support people caring for someone with AD. Itís not part of any research study; we do it because we feel like we want to give back to our participants. And I really like that part of the job - that we can become part of their support network."
In addition to her work at the clinic, Rohde supervises other research staff including study coordinators, research assistants and students. She does the hiring, evaluations, training and orientation. She remarks "It challenges me to be my best self, because I can hardly ask others to rise to the challenge if Iím not doing the same myself." She also helps coordinate contracting and setting up studies with sponsors outside of the ADRC who want to do studies and use UW sites.
Rohde loves her work, and takes pleasure in many aspects of it. She states, "A lot of my work in my nursing career has been with senior citizens. I was attracted to this field because Alzheimerís disease is such a huge public health issue and so much research is needed." She also likes the balance between the clinical and scientific aspects of her job. "I like keeping my mind active with new research and new information. I enjoy working with some of the most renowned scientists in this field. That is very stimulating. I feel honored to be part of a team that includes so many really dedicated people."
Outside of work Rohde enjoys gardening, quilting, and knitting. She is also the president of a non-profit organization that provides educational and cultural opportunities for families. Their goal is to help build intentional communities in which people learn to be interdependent. She has been active with the group for the past 20 years.
Rohde wants to emphasize to the public the importance of research. She comments, "The UW has one of the most rigorous human subjects boards in the country. Our research is ethical and carefully reviewed. It is high caliber." She continues, "Itís a great community service that people volunteer to be part of AD research."