The iConquerMS community will soon have the opportunity to help evaluate the effectiveness of a new, non-drug treatment for MS fatigue. If all goes according to plan, the ELEVIDA clinical trial is set to begin in spring 2024. ACP has recently added two new team members to spearhead this initiative. This month, we are delighted to introduce Jennifer Hill, who will serve as the Project Manager for the study.
Originally from Bend, Oregon, Jen spent a substantial part of her childhood and adult years in Colorado. Currently, she and her partner, Sean, and dog, Teo, reside in Bellingham, Washington. They share two adult children, Cooper and Anna. Jen attended Colorado State University, where she studied biology with a focus in health and exercise science that subsequently landed her a role at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in Boulder, Colorado.
“I worked at a cutting-edge sports medicine facility located in Boulder, Colorado. The facility specialized in the intersection of exercise physiology and physical therapy, with a particular focus on catering to the unique needs of cyclists.”
In her free time, Jen enjoys participating in numerous outdoor sports. She and her partner do a lot of mountain biking. She shares, “I didn’t start riding mountain bikes until I was 30, but I feel like I’ve been riding my whole life. We try to ride most days which is easy to do in Bellingham because we have great trails within riding distance of our home.”
“Sean grew up sailing so when we moved to Bellingham, we bought a small sailboat that we take out to the San Juan Islands and even up to Vancouver Island, Canada.”
“We’ve also done a lot of climbing and gotten to climb in some neat places like Lake Tahoe, Red Rock Canyon, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Sierras, and Joshua Tree.”
Jennifer’s most recent role prior to ACP was with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) as a program manager engaging with and building the capacity of grassroots communities by providing support services, education, funding and mentorship programs. One initiative, in particular, stands out in her mind. Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (TKMBD) introduces the joy of mountain biking to the next generation.
“Hundreds of thousands of youths have discovered and celebrated the joy of pedaling two wheels on dirt at TKMBD events. Many have gone on to become passionate riders and volunteer trail advocates.”
Jen also worked as a program coordinator at the Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science, technology, engineering and math. She helped organize their annual leadership and diversity conferences during this time.
When asked if she has a personal connection with MS, Jen shares, “Years ago, when I worked in sports medicine in Boulder, I had a dear friend and colleague who received an MS diagnosis at the age of 35. At that time, I struggled to understand how to offer the support she needed, as she kept her struggles with MS very private. Looking back, I regret not being more informed about MS and not being a better source of support for her.”
Jen initially learned about ACP during her job search and was inspired by the “impactful work the organization is involved in.” As the ELEVIDA Project Manager, she will be supporting all aspects of the clinical trial.
“We’ll be collaborating with iConquerMS, the ACP Research Inclusion Diversity and Equity (RIDE) Council and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to recruit and enroll 2,000 participants with MS.”
What inspires you most about ACP’s mission? “ACP is special in its approach of actively engaging individuals affected by MS throughout the entire research process, from designing studies to understanding the impact of results on their daily lives.”
How do you think your gifts and skills will contribute to the ELEVIDA study? “This is a large-scale multi-site clinical trial. I recognize that effective communication will be key for its success. Knowing when and how to engage with all the various stakeholders and project team members will be critical.”
What are you looking forward to most about managing the ELEVIDA study? “This project team is made up of such a dynamic and talented group of people, I am honored to be working with them.”
What do you think your biggest challenge will be? “Navigating through bureaucratic hurdles with the FDA and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, I’m sure.”
We’re delighted to have Jennifer on board to facilitate the CAFE-MS study. Next month we look forward to introducing you to the Clinical Trial Manager for the project, Grace Okafor. This research aims to provide a convenient and effective solution for MS-related fatigue. If successful, ELEVIDA could be FDA-approved and covered by insurance in the U.S., marking a significant breakthrough for people with MS and their healthcare providers. Stay tuned!