OHDSI Collaborator Spotlight: Clair Blacketer

Clair Blacketer is a manager in the Epidemiology Analytics group within Epidemiology at Janssen Research & Development, a Johnson & Johnson company. She began her career at a regional health system in her home state of Virginia that focuses on health outcomes research, specifically in patients with sepsis. She moved on to studying Medicare health care economics at a large payer and while there she was instrumental in implementing a novel way to track dual-enrolled Medicare retirees.

Clair joined Janssen, where her main area of focus has been observational data management, in 2015. She manages multiple ETL conversions to the OMOP Common Data Model, as well as serves as project manager for the Common Data Model working group. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from James Madison University and her Masters in Public Health from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Clair is also a certified Project Management Professional.

Recently, she shared some thoughts on how she joined the OHDSI journey, her current work within the collaborative, advice to newcomers and where you might find her when she’s not working on the OMOP Common Data Model.

What drew you to the field of epidemiology? Did you grow up interested in science, or did you find that calling later in your education?

My senior year in college I took a parasitology class that ignited my interest in epidemiology and I quickly found a graduate program that would let me feed that interest. As I learned more about the field I realized that my skill set was better tailored to large-scale observational research rather than field work.

How did you hear of OHDSI, and what drew you to being part of it?

I started working for Janssen in 2015 and within my first few months of being hired I had submitted my first abstract to the OHDSI Symposium held that year. Since that time I have found incredible support in the community and I have grown in ways I never thought possible thanks to the many friends and collaborators I have met throughout my journey.

Clair Blacketer

You are the CDM workgroup leader, so can you share some of the recent work that has been done, and some exciting challenges you look forward to tackling? 

This year we are primarily focusing on cleaning up the documentation and clarifying conventions. In years past we moved quickly to integrate community changes into the CDM and now we are slowing down and methodically examining every table and field. The goal is to make it as clear and unambiguous as possible. The closer we can get to that end means our network studies will be that much better.

How has the community aspect of OHDSI impacted your work?

As a member of this collaborative I am constantly in awe of the quality of work that’s being produced. I am extremely proud to be a part of this community and every day I aspire to bring my best effort to the table.

What have you found most enjoyable, and also most inspirational, from your time involved with OHDSI?

One of the things I love about OHDSI is that there is very little ego involved. No one person’s work is more important than the other; when we bring our expertise and knowledge together we create something truly great that has the potential to transform the field of observational health research.

What would be your advice to a potential new OHDSI collaborator looking to get started?

Don’t be afraid to speak up! If you have questions or an idea about a project or research question, let it be known. There is a wealth of support available – when you succeed we all succeed.

When you aren’t doing work for OHDSI or J&J, where are people most likely to find you, and what are you probably doing?

Definitely in my vegetable garden. This year my family and I planted lots of veggies and fruits like watermelon, corn, and sweet potatoes and we have had the best time learning the ins and outs of gardening. I am hoping that we can carve our own home-grown pumpkins for Halloween this year!