By Mikaela VanMoorleghem, FACT Education and Training Coordinator
FACT’s success depends on the commitment of volunteer experts and their willingness to participate as peers to raise quality across providers, protect the research environment, and advance the field. We continuously rely on our inspectors to give back to the cellular therapy field by visiting their colleagues during on-site inspections, serving on FACT committees, and participating in educational events. Without this collaborative effort, FACT would not have the influence it has today.
In this issue of Just the FACTs, we recognize Paul Eldridge, PhD, Director, Cell GMP Facility UNC Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for his dedication to serving FACT.
Dr. Eldridge has been a FACT inspector for 18 years, and has performed 24 inspections. “For the past 18 years, I have enjoyed the satisfaction of participating in FACT activities. When a notice of inspector training was issued back in what now feels like the ‘early neo-lithic period,’ I volunteered with the hope of gaining some better insight about what would be required for my program to achieve accreditation. I was definitely able to meet my goal,” explains Dr. Eldridge. “I received far more than I expected by gaining access to a group of dedicated experts in hematopoietic cell transplantation with the mission of raising the quality of patient care and science in the field. The opportunity to discuss issues with sharp leaders and the prospect of visiting other facilities to observe how they have addressed needs and solved common problems has been invaluable to my professional growth and directly benefited my program.”
Dr. Eldridge currently serves as the Chair of FACT’s Standards Committee and is a member of the FACT Board of Directors. According to Dr. Eldridge, “One of the most appealing aspects of FACT as an organization is an openness to listening and soliciting ideas and viewpoints from everyone in our field. Embracing this, I have over the years become involved with various FACT working committees to address evolving needs of our community. This is a real chance to see firsthand how the mission of FACT is implemented from the kernel of an idea to the establishment of standards promoting best practices for cellular therapy. My experiences in serving on the Board of Directors, the Standards Committee, and as an inspector has been the source of much personal pride, especially when I see recognition of the success of FACT in improving the quality of our field from colleagues and patients.”
In the past year, Dr. Eldridge has led over 30 committee meetings; served as a FACT inspector; and presented on behalf of FACT at the first meeting of the African Blood and Marrow Transplantation Society (AFBMT) in Morocco, the American Society for Apheresis (ASFA) meeting in Chicago, and the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT) meeting in Montréal. Dr. Eldridge comments, “Talking with colleagues at FACT educational events and committee meetings is one of the most useful ways I have found to stay current on important topics. In my opinion, service to our patients and community is the underlying inspiration for the goals and mission of FACT. Nothing happens without help, though. When hands have been needed within FACT, I was glad to assist in acknowledgement for the benefits I have garnered.”
Andra Moehring, FACT Standards Development Specialist states, “Regardless of how many emails received or meetings attended, Dr. Eldridge always shows a positive attitude. He proves time after time that he is an exemplary leader through his plethora of knowledge and continued guidance on the FACT Standards Committee. He is responsive, considerate, kind, and fair. I have learned so much from working with him. FACT is lucky to have Dr. Eldridge as a volunteer.”
“As a global ambassador for FACT, Dr. Eldridge serves as the appointed representative to the Worldwide Network for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (WBMT),” states Linda Miller, FACT Chief Executive Officer. “Through his leadership, Dr. Eldridge ensures FACT’s mission of improving quality and safety for patients is shared with our cellular therapy colleagues throughout the world.”
Dr. Eldridge concludes, “Personally, and professionally, I have benefited immensely from FACT. I encourage everyone to consider becoming involved in the activities that keep FACT evolving and improving. The organization is only as strong as the people participating.”