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For Chipps, acceptance, understanding are crucial

Jan. 31, 2019, 9:43 AM

Teresa Chipps, program manager for Vanderbilt’s Center for Asthma Research, enjoys using her experience to serve as a resource for colleagues and students.
Teresa Chipps, program manager for Vanderbilt’s Center for Asthma Research, enjoys using her experience to serve as a resource for colleagues and students. (photo by Anne Rayner)

by Kelsey Herbers

According to Teresa Chipps, research teams at Vanderbilt may not always have direct patient contact, but their goals remain closely tied to the ones of those who live in the clinical world.

“Researchers may have a different perspective, but we all work toward helping people be as healthy as possible,” said Chipps. “While we’re not on the front line of patient care, the results that come from research can impact patient treatment.”

As program manager for Vanderbilt’s Center for Asthma Research, Chipps’ varied responsibilities allow her to collaborate with colleagues of all backgrounds: physicians, nurses, fellows, students, lab technicians, biostatisticians — anyone necessary for conducting research.

With a scientific focus on asthma and allergic diseases, the center works to identify causal risk factors, understand their mechanism of action and develop primary and secondary prevention strategies with the goal to improve children’s health through research.

Between managing the center’s forms, documentation and participant payment processes, assisting with grant and manuscript submissions, creating newsletters and marketing materials and serving as the professional face of the center, Chipps hopes to use her decade of experience at Vanderbilt to be a resource for co-workers and a mentor to junior colleagues and students.

“One of the most important parts of what I do is provide support for our team,” said Chipps. “Being a person who others can go to and count on is rewarding. We have a lot of very bright people at all stages of their careers. The mesh of new, fresh ideas and more seasoned experience leads to great collaborative teamwork and success. Our team is highly respected in the field of research.”

A native of Muncie, Indiana, Chipps joined Vanderbilt’s staff in 2008 as a temporary employee in the Center for Health Services Research before beginning her work with Tina Hartert, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Asthma Research, in 2010.

“Far beyond being an administrative assistant and program manager, Teresa is an integral part of our mission to train the next generation of researchers, support students and staff, advance careers and continue the goals of our research program,” said Hartert. “She is incredibly humble, but quietly one of the most impactful people in our group.”

Chipps credits her drive for success to her desire to contribute to her team’s rapport of being responsible, professional and collaborative.

“We all strive for perfection,” said Chipps. “At the same time, we are never going to be perfect. Accepting and understanding that about ourselves and the people we work with allows us to cohesively work together and achieve successes that we could not achieve on our own.”

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