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Gavin Jaensch

Clinical Programmer
Roche Canada
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Photo de Gavin Jaensch
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Gavin Jaensch is a Clinical Programmer for Roche Canada.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Canberra, A.C.T. Australia

I now live in: Stouffville, Ontario

I completed my training/education at: Bachelor of Coaching Science, University of Canberra (equivalent of Bachelor of Kinesiology in Canada). As part of my program, I also attended Brock University.

What I do at work

I build databases that store data collected through a clinical trials. Because each study is different from another, the database reflects this. In other words, I create each database based on what is needed by the researcher. It is my job to make sure that all the data collected is accurate and can be compared against data collected in other trials. I use a number of different computer languages in my work. I also have to have an understanding of the science behind why we are testing certain drugs and devices. In my job, I work to adapt the technology of today to meet our current needs as well as being aware of where technology is going to take us in the future.

My career path is

I really enjoyed sports in high school, so I completed a kinesiology degree in university. I liked the applied science aspects that built the basis of my degree, which definitely gave me the ability to be flexible so I can see the science in most areas of my life. After I graduated with my Bachelors degree, I moved to Canada on a working holiday visa. During this period, I worked in a couple of factories making car parts. At this time, I met my wife and started the process for permanent residency.

Right before my original visa ran out, a friend of a friend hooked me up with a job interview for a company doing clinical data management (i.e., the data/information side of clinical trials). I didn't get the job as I didn't have any practical experience in the industry. While I was waiting for my permanent residency to be processed, I volunteered at that same company doing odd jobs (e.g., mainly filing but also sorting, shipping, alphabetizing, moving boxes, etc.) that they had available. I actually did this for about 7 months, as I wasn't allowed to be employed while I was waiting for my new visa. Once I got my permanent residency visa, I was hired by that company to do data entry.

I worked at this job for a couple of years and learned new skills. I then moved into a more senior position as Clinical Data Manager with the company. Part of my job was to review and analyze the data as it was entered. I was responsible for making sure the data entry was accurate, consistent and followed the guidelines for clinical studies. 

I continued to develop my skills and moved on to another company. Here, there were other opportunities to learn and develop my skills with database management and development. I did a lot of “on the job” training. These certifications led to more opportunities for advancement and responsibility. Today, I am a clinical programmer and data manager (a job that did not exist when I graduated) working for Roche Canada , a world-class pharmaceutical company.

I am motivated by

Working with patients who have no other treatment options is hard, and sometimes mentally draining. Knowing that what I am doing is not only saving peoples lives but also in some cases, giving them a second chance at life, is truly rewarding.

How I affect peoples’ lives

Our focus is on getting treatment to patients who don't have any. It is a great feeling to know that there are people alive today because of drugs that I worked on.

Outside of work I

I have two boys (5 and 8) so they keep me busy. I still like most sports, and like to play in a social softball league. I like to binge-watch TV shows; my guilty pleasure is anything set in space.

My advice to others

Be flexible and have a good background in all areas. My job didn't exist when I was doing my degree. There is a good chance yours won't either.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Math
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Music
  • Computer Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked helping people
  • Played on a sports team
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Didn't really care about grades
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Learned best by doing

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