In our Meet Sprout series, we ask each member of the Sprout Health Solutions team about their work, what brought them here and what makes them tick. Next up is Roxana Bahar, Lead Scientist.
1. What does your role at Sprout involve?
My work at Sprout involves leading on scientific studies, mainly in the clinical outcomes assessment (COA) space. I work with clients in multiple phases of the clinical trials process – from early, exploratory research into the signs, symptoms and impacts of a particular condition on patients’ lives, to more targeted research supporting COA endpoint strategies and generating qualitative data to submit to the FDA.
2. What led you to this career?
I started my career as a medical sociologist, with a particular interest in the social dynamics surrounding medical decision making. My PhD research aimed to understand racial disparities in cesarean section rates through a social/interactional lens.
I spent two years conducting fieldwork (in-depth interviews and participant observation) at a major hospital, observing interactions between HCPs and pregnant/laboring women, trying to understand what assumptions, identities and constraints each individual brought to the medical interaction.
I have always found these intersections between medicine and “real life” to be fascinating and fruitful, and I bring this perspective to my work with Sprout. Health, illness, and medicine don’t happen in a vacuum – the way that people experience and think about their medical condition, how they interact with health care providers, and even how (or whether) they participate in medical research are all shaped by macro and micro social forces.
At the same time, the way that scientists and clinicians think about health, illness, treatment, and the meaning of “quality of life” are all shaped by our own personal and professional identities. I think of the work that I do at Sprout as a way to bridge these gaps, to improve communication and understanding between patients and medical professionals, and to make sure that patients’ voices and experiences are central to the scientific research process.
3. What do you value most about the work you do at Sprout?
There are so many things I love about the work that I do with Sprout, but probably my favorite is how patient-focused we are. We are all passionate about understanding and supporting patients’ experiences with their health and improving outcomes based on how patients themselves define improvement. We are always looking for innovative ways to bring the patient voice to the forefront of our work. I also love my coworkers, who are brilliant, kind, empathetic, supportive and delightfully silly.
4. What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?
I have always been more on the patient-facing side of research, which is where my passion lies, but I’m starting to learn more about the clinical and regulatory sides of the work that we do – the logistics of clinical trials, psychometric validation, FDA processes – all of which helps inform and structure the qualitative work that I do.
5. What 3 words would your friends use to describe you?
I asked a few friends and these were the most repeated adjectives:
6. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
As someone with two small children, one of whom rarely sleeps through the night, the idea of being able to stop time so I can take a nap sounds very appealing. I also wouldn’t mind being able to teleport myself to Hawaii (so I can take a nap in a tropical location).
Meet Sprout team series