Following my graduation in January of 2023, I was eager to put my B.A. in Strategic and Corporate Communication to use. For nearly a year, I have been working at Boomerang Medical, a Silicon Valley-based bioelectronic medicine company that is striving to advance the treatment of autoimmune diseases. The company’s current focus is investigating the effects of sacral nerve stimulation on patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, through its ongoing clinical trial.

I attended the Foundation’s Take Steps event in the East Bay, walking alongside other passionate individuals fighting for patients with IBD.

In my capacity as the company’s Marketing and Clinical Research Coordinator, I play a multifaceted role. It entails providing clinical marketing support, including patient recruitment for the company’s clinical trial, as well as spearheading communication efforts across various platforms such as social media and press releases. Additionally, I oversee various project management tasks and coordinate across the company’s operations.

Reflecting on my time at Chapman University, I’ve noticed several courses from the School of Communication have directly applied to my work. However, one particular course stands out: Interviewing and Focus Groups, taught by Dr. Erin Craw in the spring of 2021. This course served as a comprehensive introduction to qualitative research methodologies, equipping me with the skills necessary to craft effective moderator guides, conduct interviews and focus groups professionally, and derive meaningful insights from these interactions.

During the course, I had the opportunity to put Dr. Craw’s lectures into practice by engaging in the research process from start to finish. My research delved into students’ experiences of staying connected to Chapman University amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The skills and knowledge gained from Dr. Craw’s course have proven invaluable in my role at Boomerang Medical, where incorporating the patient voice into the company’s research is of high importance.

Me and a couple of members from my team

In collaboration with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, an influential IBD patient advocacy organization, Boomerang Medical has established patient advisory panels to ensure patient perspectives shape the company’s clinical trial designs. It is my job to communicate with the panelists before and after the panels, construct the moderator guide, act as the lead facilitator during the panel, synthesize insights, and present key findings to Boomerang Medical’s upper management. Excitingly, Boomerang Medical was recognized as a “Promising Up-and-Comer in the Fight Against Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease” by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. This award highlights the company’s alignment with the Foundation’s goal of enhancing the lives of individuals with IBD. The Foundation expressed its appreciation for Boomerang Medical’s research, including the integration of patient insights.

Looking back, I am immensely grateful for the education I received at the School of Communication. The Interviewing and Focus Group course is just one example of its practical relevance. Once Boomerang Medical’s focus groups were fully underway, I made sure to reach out to Dr. Craw to express my gratitude. Without her course, I would not have been able to say with complete confidence, “I can do that,” when asked if I could manage the company’s patient advisory panels. I encourage all students to let their professors know the impact they have had post-graduation. A simple message can go a long way in showing appreciation for their dedication to teaching and mentorship.