New Position for Donaghue’s Stacy Cloud
If you’ve ever applied for a Donaghue grant, you know Stacy Cloud. Stacy is the person at Donaghue who guides applicants through the process of submitting a letter of intent and application and then, if funded, securing a funding agreement and ensuring that payment is made to the sponsoring institution and the Foundation receives its required progress reports. Stacy’s position has recently been upgraded to Program Director, which signifies the increased responsibility that she has for the overall operation of the grant programs. We’ve asked Stacy to describe her work at Donaghue.
How has the work at Donaghue changed since you began?
When I was hired as the grants administrator, a new position for the Foundation, the Foundation’s three signature programs were winding down. But we were also starting the development of a new research program — Donaghue Program for Research Leadership. Launching this program required conversations with experts in the field and fellow funders, recruiting scientific reviewers, and targeted communications to potential applicants. Going through that process was invaluable as l learned the thoughtful process Donaghue takes with its mission and grantmaking. More recently, I had an active role in launching other new grant programs such as R3, Another Look, and Greater Value Portfolio (please visit our website to learn more about these programs). Each one of these new programs required developing its own application materials, communication approach, and establishing a team of expert reviewers.
So I guess I wouldn’t say that the work has changed but it has evolved. We continually evaluate and reexamine the administration of our programs to ensure they are the best reflection of our mission and guiding principles.
How is Program Director different from your previous position?
As Program Director, I will continue to do many of the grantmaking functions I have done in the past. However, this change will allow me to devote more time to focus on two areas I particularly enjoy – supporting our grantees and making stronger connections with our scientific reviewers.
During my time at Donaghue, we have worked with many amazing researchers who share the Foundation’s goal of getting research into practice. I would like to ensure that all of our grantees are aware of the Foundation’s resources that support their non-research activities for their funded projects. For example, our dissemination accounts can be used by our awardees to support researchers’ efforts to interact with various stakeholders – systems leaders, practitioners, policymakers, community members, and patients – about their research so they may generate greater application and public support for the use of science to improve health. I would also like to ensure that we are highlighting our grantees’ work in our communication efforts, such as on our blog. Soapbox is Donaghue’s blog where grantees, advisers, and colleagues can express their views and share knowledge related to healthcare innovation, medical research and education, and the challenges of putting evidence to action to improve health. If you are a current or former grantee reading this and you are interested in authoring a blogpost, please let me know! Lastly, the Foundation realizes that the lifespan of the research we fund doesn’t end at the close of that grant period. I want to make sure we are stay connected with our former grantees so that we can learn about their continuing research and the real timeframe and resources required for getting research into practice.
The Foundation is also fortunate to benefit from an amazing group of advisers who support our funding decisions with their thoughtful insight and expertise. I work closely with the review committees during the active period of our grant cycles, but I also look forward to connecting with them outside of that time. Just as with grantees, we would love to have our advisers author a Soapbox blogpost or to highlight their accomplishments in our other communication efforts. Advisers are also a significant source of expertise when we have questions related to our programs. Finally, I want to ensure that their experience as a reviewer is as valuable to them as possible. Our review committee members are listed on the Advisory Committee page on our website.
Like many people, Donaghue staff has been working from home since March. How has that been going? Will you be back full time or on a different schedule?
The year 2020 was definitely a challenge! The Foundation began working remotely in March and like many others, I don’t think we ever thought almost a year later we would still be in the same position, albeit we are much more savvy Zoomers now. I heard someone say very early on “make sure you are working from home and not living at work,” and that really stuck with me. I think having my own home-based workspace and routine has made working remotely doable, but with the reality of kids learning remotely and sharing WiFi it definitely is not ideal. Also, I must say that it is slightly terrifying how my brain has normalized seeing my co-workers as little tiles on my computer screen. So like many others working remotely, I’ve adapted, but I can’t wait to return to the water cooler chat in the kitchen before a day starts or again wearing business attire on the top AND the bottom. I look forward to returning to the office as soon as it is safe to do so. I’m not sure when that will be, but we will be sure to follow evidence-based recommendations!
And on the COVID front, I must salute our grantees who needed to be innovative and adapt their research protocols during this time. In addition, some were also serving as essential employees caring for patients or were assigned new administrative responsibilities. The Foundation was happy to work with all of our grantees who needed to pivot or change some aspects of their projects because of the pandemic.