March 26, 2020

Meet Our Team: Ivana Senic

Ivana is one of our Research Technician Associates

Ivana is shown all the way on the right with former RAs Megan, Marisa and Brianna.

Please tell us what position you hold in the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program!
I am a Research Technician Associate (RA). I am responsible for the consenting process, scheduling research follow-up visits, completing annual follow-up HAM-D (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale) and YMRS (Young Mania Rating Scale) phone interviews, and keeping the lab organized through tasks such as filing, scanning and handling data mailed to the lab by participants. Mostly, I am working on the Longitudinal Study of Bipolar Disorder and on the BIO-K (Ketamine) research study. I enjoy working in this team since the communication among all the lab technicians is well organized -- we all have tasks that we divide and agree among ourselves who will do what first thing in the morning.

Please walk us through a typical Monday in your position.
A typical Monday in my position is coming in, checking my email, looking at the daily schedule and the visits as well as phone calls that need to be done. After that, it's discussing with the other RA's who is able to do which annual phone check-in interviews, and who is able to consent participants that day and take their blood samples for processing. In case there is an in-person visit, I organize the paperwork for that visit, and label it appropriately. I greet the participants, consent them and manage the paperwork for the visit, do data entry, and manage the switch between the clinicians and the neuropsychological testing team,. I also manage payment of the participants. Between visits, I answer phone calls, do phone screens for the Longitudinal Study and the BIO-K study, complete annual visit emailing and phone calls so that our participants can be scheduled for their annual follow-up visit/phone call, and correspond with our participants via email. I also attend meetings with the study coordinator and the whole study team for the BIO-K study. During lunch time, we usually eat lunch at the lab while working and before going home we make reminder phone calls for the participants coming in the next day.


Ivana in front of the Big House, the University of Michigan's stadium 

What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work I like to go for long walks, read, go to the movies and watch TV shows, and talk to my family over Skype. I like to cook and enjoy watching cooking shows. Currently, I am in nursing school so I don't have a lot of time to enjoy all of these activities so much.

What’s the best thing about working at the Prechter Program?
The best thing about working in the Prechter Program are the people. Our clinicians are very knowledgeable and kind. Also, I enjoy getting to know people who live with bipolar disorder and just realizing how hard but also amazing and brave it is to manage this illness, how much it means to them to talk to our clinicians who understand what they are going through. I have moved to the U.S. from a foreign country, so the Prechter Team has been a home for me, and I got to learn a lot about manic depression while working here.

Where do you hope to go next in your education and your career?
I hope to complete my nursing education, and hopefully one day work as either a psychiatric nurse or perhaps a nurse midwife.

And finally: What are three things you’d take with you on a deserted island?
Things I would like to take with me to a deserted island: cards, raincoat and a small knife.

The Prechter research team celebrating Ivana becoming a U.S. citizen

 Ivana's bio can be found here.