My experience in KER unit

Short, deep, and intense are the three words that best describe my experience in KER unit. I learned a lot from each and every one of the incredible members of this family, they’re all admirable. Everybody loves to work and I love that. The work environment is at its finest. They’re highly productive, very kind, and very very friendly. They made me feel at home since the very beginning. This is the perfect place to do research. However, not any kind of research. But research that improves, with elegant solutions, the patient care.

One of the best lessons I take home is that when JP (“yei-pi”) and I were talking about a research project, and he told me: “Just remember that the results from every research must mark the beginning of another one and most contribute to the greater picture; every research project is bounded to the next one, so that all the projects together can contribute to improving the patient care”.

On my first day, Victor invited me for a cup of coffee. Walking back, I expressed my gratitude for having the opportunity of being able to be here and my full intention to work as much as possible. To what he answered: “KER unit is a place for grownups; it depends on you how much you want to work. If you want more work, ask for it; if you want less, just say”. Later, he concluded our chat with the following: “Dive into the pool, if it contains water, you’ll probably swim; if it doesn’t, you’ll only get a bump in the head”.

Throughout my stay here, I got involved in as many projects as I could. But most importantly, I had the support to develop a few of my own. I worked on a systematic review to assess the effectiveness of interventions made to foster cost conversations between patients and clinicians. I had the opportunity to start this review from the beginning and even to lead the project. Cost discussions are considered a key element for high quality care. Surprisingly, we found out that there is a huge lack of interventions to foster them!

Another project on which I have been working on is a critical appraisal of the cost-effectiveness analyses that have been made regarding type 2 diabetes treatment. Recent evidence demonstrated that all randomized clinical trials and meta-analyses of randomized clinical trials have failed to prove that intense glycemic control reduces the incidence of patient important outcomes such as myocardial infarction or stroke. So, we are trying to identify the sources of information from where these analyses calculate the effectiveness. This is a very important project because cost-effectiveness analyses are often made to justify new treatment options for populations of patients (e.g. countries).

Research has become a great passion in my life. It has changed my way of thinking, acting, and approaching and resolving problems. It’s awesome and very satisfactory the fact that you can generate knowledge through research. But it is even more when you know that your work is contributing to a bigger purpose: to get closer to the type of care that every patient deserves.

My stay here ends because I must go back to finish medical school and to support my research team back home with the establishment of the new KER unit in Mexico. During my six weeks with the KER family, I worked very hard every day from the morning through the night, and I discovered that I am capable of much more than I thought. Nevertheless, this capability of mine, is conditioned: I need to have a good team, and in KER unit, I have the best. Thanks to my team, I dived into the pool, I found water, and I swam.

I leave without wanting to. I leave with eager to come back.

Thanks to the KER family for this great opportunity!

Frank Barrera
INVEST-KER Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon
Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

Leave a Reply