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Two Clinical Studies Helping Diabetic Patients at UMass Memorial Hospitals

Staff Spotlight: Lucy Ding - Diabetes Clinical Research Assistant

Date Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2022

Lucy graduated from Boston College in 2021 with a biology degree and a minor in medical humanities. She is currently in the process of applying to medical schools. 

“This job is giving me exposure to the medical field, working closely with physicians, and observing first-hand what systematic interventions are needed,” she said. “It’s excellent experience for someone like me who is interested in a career in medicine.” 

Growing up in Shrewsbury, Lucy attended Worcester Academy. During High School she volunteered at UMass Memorial Medical Center. She was a class officer at Worcester Academy, led campus tours as a school ambassador, and was editor-and-chief of her school yearbook. “I gravitated to social activities that allowed me to connect with people,” she said.

She also played basketball and ran cross-country. “I enjoyed the competition but most of all I liked the comradery and being part of a team.” 

As a Clinical Research Assistant, Lucy is coordinating the Glycemic Optimization on Discharge from the Emergency Room (GOOD-ER) program. She will also be assisting with another clinical trial aimed that is intended to improve blood glucose control for patients with diabetes who are admitted to UMass Memorial Health hospitals. Both trials are funded by the Herman G. Berkman Diabetes Clinical Innovation Fund.

The GOOD-ER Program

This randomized clinical trial provides continuous glucose monitors (CGM) to people with diabetes who are currently not using one and arrive at the Emergency Room with high or low blood sugar, or other diabetes related complications. Those who fit the criteria and agree to participate, receive a Freestyle Libre to wear for two weeks to monitor their blood sugar and share the data with their diabetes care team. Their physician can then prescribe it through insurance beyond that. Half of the study participants, the control group, do not receive a CGM. The study is analyzing whether CGM successfully keeps people from returning to the ER with diabetes-related issues, compared to the control group who are not wearing a device to monitor their blood sugars. The goal is to reduce clinic no-shows and improve glycemic outcomes and patient satisfaction The study is led by endocrinologist Mark O’Connor, MD and emergency physician Laurel O'Connor, MD. 

Lucy is responsible for screening patients for eligibility. She spends time in the ER explaining the study to potential participants and consenting those who are interested. She also places the CGM devices, schedules outpatient appointments with the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence care team, collects surveys at the time of the outpatient visit, and assists participants who may have questions or issues throughout their trial process. 

Improving Inpatient Blood Glucose Management  

This project will implement a carbohydrate counting system for hospitalized inpatients with diabetes throughout the UMass Memorial Health system. The study led by endocrinologists Leslie Domalik, MD and Asem Ali, MD, will evaluate if adopting a flexible meal dosing option based on carb counting, improves the outcomes of hospitalized patients with diabetes. The program will coordinate appropriate timing of blood glucose testing, insulin dosing, and administration of rapid-acting mealtime insulin. It will also ensure carbohydrate counts are listed for all food served to hospitalized patients, and better coordinate insulin delivery with meal delivery.

Lucy’s Favorites

  • Hobbies/Activities: Running, Spending time with family & friends
  • Music: Taylor Swift
  • TV/Shows: Only Murders in the Building, Gossip Girl, This is Us
  • Movies: Good Will Hunting, Rom Coms & “Chick Flicks”
  • Books: Autobiographies, particularly political figures
  • Local Restaurants: Birch Tree Bread, El Patron Mexican Restaurant. Lucy is a self-proclaimed “foodie” and aspires to create a Foodie social media channel.