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Corvallis Clinic Health Information Blog

Meet Nancy

Jan 21, 10:18 AM

Clinical Research Center

Nancy Sarpola, RN, is the last clinical research coordinator to be introduced to you via this blog.  For the past several months, Nancy has been working quietly in the background supporting all of us in a variety of clinical studies.  Now, it’s Nancy’s turn in the spotlight as she is enrolling not one, but two studies in different therapeutic areas.  Nancy is the coordinator for a new study for those with Type 1 diabetes and another for those with high triglyceride levels (hypertriglyceridemia). 

Nancy is a passionate and generous gardener.  It is a much-anticipated department tradition to hold a staff meeting each summer while basking in the beauty of Nancy’s floral wonderland – words are inadequate to describe her amazing landscape.  Nancy also enjoys spending time with her family and especially her first grandchild, who will no doubt have a “green thumb.”Nancy obtained her undergraduate degree from Oregon State University and then attended nursing school. She began her nursing career in 1988 and all but one year of her career has been at The Corvallis Clinic.  Prior to joining Research, Nancy worked in Obstetrics/Gynecology and the Anticoagulation Clinic.  She joined the Clinical Research Center nine years ago and has been involved in 20 clinical trials, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, women’s health, and COPD.

The Type 1 diabetes study is evaluating an investigational insulin designed to be as similar as possible to Lantus® (insulin glargine) to see how well it works to control blood sugar levels.  Patient volunteers must be between 18 and 65 years old and taking Lantus® (insulin glargine) for at least three months.  The hypertriglyceridemia study is looking at an investigational medication to help reduce the risk of serious heart problems in people who have high triglyceride levels.  The investigational medication is a concentrate of omega-3 free fatty acids, developed from fish oils.

If you are interested in learning more about our studies contact the Clinical Research Center at 541-766-2163 or send an email to  Or, follow us on Facebook at

- Julie Carrico is Associate Coordinator of The Corvallis Clinical Research Center 

Columns by Clinic providers in 2014 helped guide readers to a healthy day - and life

Jan 02, 03:49 PM

We at The Corvallis Clinic strive to deliver exceptional medical care with compassion. We also have a committment to service.  Part of that service is helping guide people to live healthier lives by sharing our providers' expertise. During 2014, many of our physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants wrote columns on various subjects, such as men's preventive health, poison oak, pain managment and weight loss.

To start reading columns that will help you have a healthy day, click 2014 columns.

2015: Another busy year ahead

Jan 02, 09:47 AM

Clinical Research Center

One of the great aspects of our jobs as clinical research coordinators is that we are always getting to learn new things.  If a study is in a therapeutic area we are already well versed in, at a minimum we have the opportunity to refresh our knowledge with the very latest clinical information.  The advantage for our clinical trial patients is that we can then pass on this “cutting-edge” knowledge. 

During 2014 we worked in several clinical areas, including allergy, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, women’s health, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a vaccine to prevent C diff infections, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

2015 is shaping up to be an equally busy year for us.  We were selected to participate in a study that will be very interesting for those with high levels of triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia) even though they are taking a statin drug and watching their diet.  Another exciting study is working with patients who have had a stroke in the recent past and who need additional help recovering their walking skills.  We have new clinical trials starting for those with uncontrolled asthma and those with COPD, and we have also been selected to participate in a clinical trial evaluating instrumentation improvements in the device used for measuring anticoagulation in patients who use blood thinners.  Whew!

Innovation in medical treatment is truly not possible without the participation of study volunteers.  So, to our many volunteers, I say thanks for keeping us busy in 2014 and we look forward to advancing medicines and technology in 2015.  Happy New Year!

Our current list of clinical studies includes studies for those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, uncontrolled asthma, plaque-type psoriasis and hypertriglyceridemia.  For more information, contact the Clinical Research Center at 541-766-2163 or send an email to  You can also follow us on Facebook at

- Julie Carrico is Associate Coordinator of The Corvallis Clinic Clinical Research Center

Aiming for less crying, more jumping for joy

Dec 22, 10:39 AM

Clinical Research Center

I have worked in clinical research for too many years to publicly admit.  I enjoy what I do and am excited to know that my work is important and contributes to improving health.  I have to admit though that sometimes the naysayers get to me – these are the people who decry that Big Pharma is: 1) inventing diseases to sell drugs, 2) artificially inflating prices, 3) withholding “bad” data, etc.  The list goes on.  And of course, like any industry, there is room for improvement in the pharmaceutical industry.  But MOST people who work in clinical research are just like me – dedicated, passionate advocates for better health outcomes. 

This fall I spent a lot of time at Good Sam Hospital with a family member.  That first day, I spent almost eight hours hanging out in the waiting room by myself surrounded by other patients’ small family/friend groups.  All of us were waiting for The Phone Call that would tell us that our person was in the recovery room, surgery went well, etc.  At one point late into this dreary day I went to use a restroom and paid no attention to the woman at the sink area as I ducked into a stall.  I soon became aware that the woman at the sink was crying – not sniffle, sniffle, but really crying.  Her tears really rattled me and did so even after I received The Phone Call that my person was in the recovery room and all had gone well.  Stupid medicine!  Why can’t everyone be cured?

A few days later I was making the now familiar trek through the hospital parking lot as I went to visit my family member.  I was vaguely aware of two people who were clearly acquaintances, walking toward each other.  They spoke to each other quickly in urgent, low voices and then one of them shrieked joyously “no way!” as they threw their arms about each other and did a sort of jumping hug. 

That was my “aha” moment.  This is why I like doing what I’m doing.  I’m working to bring about options that allow for fewer tears and more jump hugs.

Our current list of clinical studies includes studies for those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, uncontrolled asthma, plaque-type psoriasis and hypertriglyceridemia.  For more information, contact the Clinical Research Center at 541-766-2163 or send an email to  You can also follow us on Facebook at

- Julie Carrico is Associate Coordinator of The Corvallis Clinic Clinical Research Center

Ways to ward off extra pounds during the holidays

Nov 24, 06:00 AM

Festive gatherings and holiday preparations often involve a bounty of tasty treats and cut into time usually spent on exercise, sleep and general relaxation.  If you’d like to make this year different, and celebrate the New Year without weight gain, consider the following tips:

Commit to moving: Keeping up with programmed activity helps other healthy habits flourish by creating a chain reaction.  Including at least 30 minutes of daily movement can improve sleep, mood and metabolism … just what you need to survive the onslaught of holiday food, activities and emotions that many experience during the season.

Commit to regular and balanced meals: Making time for meals, especially breakfast, is another keystone habit that helps everything else fall into place.  Even though you may have a smaller appetite, your body will reward your effort to meet your basic energy and protein needs.  Use your creativity and planning skills to keep it simple.

Get your rest: Recent studies have revealed what many have experienced first-hand: that sleep deprivation enhances appetite, and increases cravings for easy-to-overeat foods like sweets, chips, breads and pasta.  If that’s not enough, sleep deprivation zaps energy and enthusiasm for exercise.  (See column below)

Scan your food environment: You can limit the potential for mindless eating by keeping holiday sweets out of sight.  Rather than filling a jar with candy, use ornaments, candles or beads to spread holiday cheer.  Make an arrangement with co-workers and family to keep temptations out-of-sight. 

Avoid mindless eating: Approach meals, snacks and holiday events mindfully. Notice how your thoughts and emotions may affect your choices.  Take a few moments to organize your intentions; give yourself a time-out and a deep breath or two to stay on course.

Think your drink: Holiday beverages probably contain more calories than you realize and they don’t typically reduce one’s appetite for other foods.  In fact, alcohol may relax your resolve, so know yourself on that front. 

Be assertive: If the people around you seem to be forcing food on you or commenting on your choices, be prepared to stick up for yourself with a simple and assertive comeback such as “No thank you; it looks wonderful, but I have definitely had enough.” When you say it because you mean it and without apology, it isn’t so hard to do.

Focus on self-care and thankfulness: When you take good care of yourself, rather than over-extending and experiencing negative stress, you can be a better friend and family member to others and thankful for each new day.  

Until next time, here’s to healthy eating!

Lori Dodds, RD, LD, is a Registered Dietitian at The Corvallis Clinic Nutrition Services Department.

Follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.