Jamie Caldwell honored for work overseeing research administration at Stritch School of Medicin
MAYWOOD, Ill. - It's blunt but true - grants are the lifeblood of medical research.
Without access to federal, state and private funding sources, it would be virtually impossible for medical and academic institutions to afford the additional lab space, equipment, supplies and personnel needed to discover new and innovative ways to cure and prevent diseases.
That knowledge is the driving force for Jamie Caldwell, who as director of the office of research services oversees a staff of nine charged with assisting the faculty and administrators of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Ill., to successfully acquire grant money to support their research initiatives.
"We're one of those offices that most people would say, 'Huh?', when they heard our name mentioned," Caldwell said. "But what we do is important because we enhance Loyola's research efforts and do our little part to assist in finding cures and new treatments by making sure that our researchers don't spend a lot of unnecessary time putting together proposals for which they're not eligible."
Before any request goes out, it has to first go through Caldwell's office, which thoroughly reviews each application to make certain it adheres to all the rules and guidelines of the grant sought, both internally and externally.
"We're administrators by trade. We facilitate and try to expedite the grant applications in which our researchers, faculty and principal investigators are engaged," Caldwell said.
Caldwell came to Stritch School of Medicine in January 1998 as an administrative director. During the course of his tenure he developed the rigorous legal guidelines, policies and procedures for his department. "There's a rich reward in it all," Caldwell said. "I don't necessarily have to be in the forefront to know that I played just a small part, a small role, in helping someone achieve that research goal. It's rewarding. That certainly makes it worthwhile."
Recently, it's become a little more worthwhile to Caldwell, after he was informed that he was selected to receive the 2007 Distinguished Service Award from the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA). The council bestows the annual award to members who have made a significant contribution in the field and to the organization.
"When you do what you love, you don't always get the accolades," Caldwell said. "This came as a total surprise."
One person who wasn't surprised was NCURA Executive Director Kathleen Larmett, who said Caldwell will be formally honored during her organization's 49th annual meeting on Nov. 5 in Washington, D.C.
"Jamie is one of those rare individuals who always go the extra mile," Larmett said. "He is tireless in his volunteer efforts, and is a consummate professional and a good communicator. He stays continually involved in the organization in helping colleagues and others that are coming up through the ranks in the profession of research administration."
Caldwell is one of four other individuals who will receive the award from NCURA, which has seven regions and more than 6,000 members nationwide. Illinois is in Region Four, which Caldwell supervised as regional vice president/chairman.
"I've been doing this a long time. This is a profession that has developed over the last 20 to 25 years," said Caldwell, who started his career in the human resources field as a payroll clerk." It's not a field that anybody goes to school for. You kind of fall into it accidentally, and I'm happy that I did."
Caldwell, a native of the South Side of Chicago, is married to Daphne Reese Caldwell. The couple reside in Country Club Hills, Ill, with their 21-year-old son Steven, a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C.; and Jessica, 16, a junior at Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields, Ill.