11/15/2012 10:29 AM
By Ann Gianola
ACHA Research Manager
It was still dark when I laced up my shoes for an early morning run. I’d charted my route along the Schuylkill River, hoping to get in eight quick and quiet miles before the rest of the city woke up. See, I’m training for a marathon and on that morning’s run (one of dozens of morning runs), I realized that conducting research is much like training for a marathon. Conducting research is hard, sometimes a constant uphill battle, and there are always bumps or curves in the road. Rarely do we get to sprint to the finish line when conducting research.
I ran this morning alone and listened to the sand and gravel crunch beneath my feet. But ACHA’s research is never done alone. We are constantly supported by clinicians, researchers, healthcare providers and our patient and family members. We rely on each other, combining resources and expertise to design an efficient and worthwhile survey or research project in order to get the best results to improve care and resources available to the ACHD community. I choose the best running shoes, I ask fellow runners for training tips and I rely on my running community to get the best race results. Running and research are similar like that.
Sometimes the numbers in research don’t always add up and sometimes I’m just a few miles short of my weekly mileage goal—but we all make it to the finish line. You keep on trucking, one foot in front of another, one more clinical test to add to the statistics, and you find yourself committed to finishing what you started.
As ACHA’s Research Manager, I am fortunate to participate in the Heart-ACHD study, the REACH project and more recently, the Clinician Satisfaction Survey Project. Because of my hard work and the unwavering support of our collaborators, I am proud to say we are nearing completion of not one but three manuscripts for publication in the academic community. Our research has provided insight into our patient and provider community and these findings move all of us closer to that finish line. We have the same goal: To improve ACHD care for patients in the United States.
My marathon is this weekend and even after I cross the finish line, I know I’ll continue running. Just like I’ll continue researching.
Ann Gianola is ACHA’s Research Manager. When she’s not managing the REACH project, the ACHD program directory, or working on the ACHD program accreditation plan, she’s leading guided running tours of Philadelphia. Or analyzing survey data. She likes doing both.
Copyright ©2012 ACHA