Medical Librarian Discovers Passion for Clinical Trials at UCSC Extension


- Judith Mills

Term : January, 2014
Department : Biosciences
Program : Clinical Trials

Librarians have what Judith Mills call the “helper” gene; an innate understanding of where to find useful resources. Trained as a medical librarian, Mills knew exactly where to go when her company had to downsize. With help from NOVA’s federally funded program, she enrolled in UCSC Extension’s Clinical Trials Design and Management certificate program.

“They are closing lots of libraries these days,” she says. “I wanted to retool my skills. My previous job really opened me up to pharmaceutical and regulatory questions. When questions about interpreting regulatory guidance came up, instead of tearing my hair out, I went through the FDA librarians. They knew where to go, and who to ask. I got to create some really good connections with the FDA.”

Mills soon discovered that her expertise as a knowledge manager and librarian was transferable to the field of clinical trials. Her years as a librarian had trained her to search for effective, evidence-based research. With a newfound passion for clinical trials, she found a niche worth exploring. Her first course, “Interacting With the FDA,” was a good introduction to the industry.

“With any regulatory body, no matter what happens, there are these interchangeable, transferable skills,” she says. “Whether you’re looking for employment in clinical trials or regulatory affairs, you have to deal with people, and you have to have that constant hunger for knowledge. You have to be a good analyst, and be able to distill the data and provide it as knowledge for your team or whomever you are supporting. The courses kept me stimulated and inspired me to keep reading on my own. ”

Mills attributes her newfound passion for clinical trials to her instructors, who she says have inspired an excitement for learning that she describes as a “flicker of light that has grown into a flame.” Now that she has completed the Clinical Trials certificate, she plans to pursue Extension’s certificate in Regulatory Affairs.

Visit our Clinical Trials program page to learn more about UCSC Extension’s unique offerings.

Read more UCSC Extension Student StoriesBrowse upcoming Clinical Trials courses.

Share your Extension story.