Day in the Life

A day in the life of User Experience Designer Flavia Gnecco

By now, you’re probably familiar with our “Day in the life” series. But in case you haven’t had a chance to check it out, here’s a quick overview: members of the PatientsLikeMe community share a lot about their health journey and experiences on the site. In turn, we like to share stories from the PatientsLikeMe team every now and then to help everyone get to know us, what we do and why we’re happy to be a part of PatientsLikeMe. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Flavia Gnecco, a User Experience Designer on our UX and design team. Flavia, a world traveler, joined us last October (happy 1 year anniversary, Flavia!). Read her interview below, and don’t forget to take a look at the other posts in the “Day in the life” series if you haven’t already. 1. How did you first hear about PatientsLikeMe? What brought you to the organization? I first heard about PatientsLikeMe while I was working at NIBR (Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research) back in 2012. The name came up while brainstorming around how researchers could find out about actual patient experiences. Fast forward a two years later and I came across a job posting for user …

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A day in the life of Software Engineer Jonathan Slate

Our members share a lot about their unique health journeys and experiences here on the blog. Just recently, Kim spoke about her shock with MS, Betty talked about her frustration finding the right diagnosis, and Lori’s been sharing about life on the lung transplant list. And as part of our ongoing “A day in the life” series, PatientsLikeMe Software Engineer Jonathan Slate shared about his own recent journey after his son Nolan’s hand injury. He walked through the whole experience, from Nolan’s initial accident to how a simple CD with some x-rays on it sparked an ‘ah ha!’ moment for him.   You started working at PatientsLikeMe about 6 months ago – tell us a little bit about what you do. I work as a Software Engineer, developing new site features, fixing issues and working with other engineers to come up with creative solutions to the technical challenges of building and maintaining the PatientsLikeMe site. I’ve also done some work on the PatientsLikeMe Open Research Exchange project. You’ve said you experienced two “eureka” moments at PatientsLikeMe – what happened, exactly? Well, the first was on the PatientsLikeMe forums, where I found out, first hand, just how comforting it can be …

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A day in the life of Social Media Specialist Jesse Smith

Our members give us a glimpse of their personal lives every single day when they share through their PatientsLikeMe profiles, and as the days tick down until Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’re getting into the holiday spirit by sharing a little about ourselves with you. Jesse Smith is the Social Media Specialist on the marketing team at PatientsLikeMe, and the Boston college alum/avid chef recently sat down and answered a few questions about her PatientsLikeMe experience. How did you first learn about PatientsLikeMe? What led you to join the marketing team? I first learned about PatientsLikeMe when I was looking for positions in health marketing. I saw their posting for a Social Media Specialist, so I looked into the company. I was immediately impressed and excited, and started reading and watching everything I could about the company. It turned out that a fellow Boston College alum, Lori Scanlon, was the VP of Marketing and Communications, so I sent over my application to her right away. I was thrilled when I was offered the position, and couldn’t wait to get started! Tell us a little bit about you. Rumor has it that you’re quite the cook. I’m no Julia Child, but I …

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A Day in the Life of Health Data and Patient Safety Clinical Specialist Christine Caligtan

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features PatientsLikeMe employees from different departments.  Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Caligtan, RN, MSN, a registered nurse who has served as our Health Data and Patient Safety Clinical Specialist since May 2011.  Find out what that involves, why she made the switch to the health startup world and much more in our interview. 1.  What’s it like to be a registered nurse at a health startup? I could not be happier as a registered nurse at PatientsLikeMe. It’s the best of both worlds: I get to interact with patients online, and I am satisfying the informatics side of my interests by working the patients’ data and fostering their ability to track and maintain their health with online tools. When I started working as a nurse I never thought my career path would lead me to a health startup. As I encountered different clinical settings and patient experiences, I knew that technology was the key to advancing healthcare.  From that point, I decided I wanted to work in the field of nursing informatics. The first …

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A Day in the Life of PatientsLikeMe Web Developer Adam Darowski

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features PatientsLikeMe employees from different departments.  Today we’d like to introduce you to Adam Darowski, a father of three who joined the technology team as a web developer exactly three years ago.  Find out why he had a crush on the company long before he came to work here and more in our interview. 1.  What led you to join PatientsLikeMe in 2009? I had been a big fan of PatientsLikeMe since late 2006 when I originally met Co-Founders Ben Heywood and Jeff Cole. Over time, it became more and more clear to me that my next position would be with PatientsLikeMe. First the company hired Kate Brigham (who I had known for quite a while), then I met people like Cris Necochea and Rich Thornett. I knew it was a special place with special people. What ultimately led me here in 2009 was the opportunity to do some things that were very important to me. I want to make PatientsLikeMe an incredible resource not just for patients living chronic conditions, but also for parent caregivers …

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A Day in the Life of PatientsLikeMe Quality Assurance Engineer Brian Boyle

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features employees from different departments.  So far, we’ve interviewed User Experience Engineer Cris Necochea, Research Assistant Shivani Bhargava, Office Manager Alison Dutton, Research Scientist Timothy Vaughan, Biz Dev’er Arianne Graham, Product Manager Maureen Oakes and Community Manager Jeanette DeVita.  Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Boyle, who joined the company six months ago to help us maintain excellent quality assurance (QA).  What that means is that when you find a bug in our platform, Brian is the guy who makes sure it gets fixed! 1.  What’s surprised you the most since joining PatientsLikeMe in March? PatientsLikeMe is an amazing office to work in. I was immediately welcomed by a team of talented and brilliant individuals. The people here are so nice to be around. The bar of excellence is raised daily, and we challenge ourselves to produce the best possible product. Every morning I arrive to an atmosphere that is rich with confidence and satisfaction of our product. 2.  Tell us about the role of the Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer. My job at PatientsLikeMe is to collect bug reports …

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A Day in the Life of PatientsLikeMe Community Manager Jeanette DeVita

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features employees from different departments.  So far, we’ve interviewed User Experience Engineer Cris Necochea, Research Assistant Shivani Bhargava, Office Manager Alison Dutton, Research Scientist Timothy Vaughan, Biz Dev’er Arianne Graham and Product Manager Maureen Oakes.  Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeanette DeVita, who came on board as a Community Manager in February 2011. 1.  What were your first impressions upon joining PatientsLikeMe? I was very excited to see the job listing for a Community Manager at PatientsLikeMe. I have a background in nonprofits, and I was looking to shift to the for-profit sector. I was thrilled to find a job at a company that was for-profit but with the heart of a nonprofit. It was clear that the employees at PatientsLikeMe wanted to make a difference in the lives of patients and that was something I wanted to do too. It’s important to me to feel like my work makes the world a better place and working at PatientsLikeMe gives me that feeling. I was also impressed and excited by the company culture at PatientsLikeMe. …

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A Day in the Life of PatientsLikeMe Product Manager Maureen Oakes

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features employees from different departments.  So far, we’ve interviewed User Experience Engineer Cris Necochea, Research Assistant Shivani Bhargava, Office Manager Alison Dutton,  Research Scientist Timothy Vaughan and Biz Dev’er Arianne Graham.  Today we’d like to introduce you to Product Manager Maureen Oakes, or as she’s affectionately known around the office, “Mo.” 1.  You’re the Product Manager at PatientsLikeMe.  Tell us what that involves. A little bit of everything! I read in an article that product managers are like “embedded CEOs” because you drive the core decisions to improve and change the product, which in this case is the PatientsLikeMe website. That means different things depending on the circumstances. Sometimes my job is getting all the right people in the room to make a decision, and sometimes it is making a decision myself. In all cases, it involves listening, asking good questions, weighing all the options and following up to make sure what needs to get done actually happens. Each day I split my time between planning ahead for enhancements we could make to the site in the …

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A Day in the Life of Biz Dev Team Member Arianne Graham

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features employees from different departments.  So far, we’ve interviewed User Experience Engineer Cris Necochea, Research Assistant Shivani Bhargava, Office Manager Alison Dutton and Research Scientist Timothy Vaughan. Today we hear from Arianne Graham, a Harvard MBA graduate who joined the business development team in 2010.  What current project is she most excited about?  And how is working at PatientsLikeMe different than her previous healthcare jobs?  Find out that and more in our interview. 1.  What’s it like to be part of the business development team? When spending time with friends and family or even meeting new people, I’m always excited to answer that small talk question: “What do you do?” I happen to think I have the best job ever. As part of the business development team here at PatientsLikeMe, my colleagues and I work with everyone who cares about patients (including providers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, pharmacies, and many more!). We look at how the real-world data shared by our members can transform their businesses for the benefit of patients everywhere. Sounds like fun, right? …

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A Day in the Life of PatientsLikeMe Research Scientist Timothy Vaughan

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features employees from different departments.  So far, we’ve interviewed User Experience Engineer Cris Necochea, Research Assistant Shivani Bhargava and Office Manager Alison Dutton.  Today we hear from Research Scientist Timothy Vaughan, who earned his PhD in physics before deciding to focus his simulation and modeling skills on medical questions. 1.  What research projects are you working on at the moment? I am working on a few different things. My primary focus recently has been on modeling multiple sclerosis (MS). As just about anyone with the disease can tell you, MS is a highly complex, highly variable illness. To even get a good description of the experience of a patient is a challenge. As one of the “mathy” people at PatientsLikeMe, my job is to try to make the description as systematic and quantitative as possible, because mathematical relationships are often the best tools in trying to solve the underlying puzzle of what the body is doing. So, for example, I have recently been looking at some of the ways that symptoms and the Multiple Sclerosis Rating Scale (MSRS) …

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