CSR’s Outlaw Credited with Quick Conversion to Virtuality
“While many investigators have had to shutter their labs due to this public health emergency, the research enterprise will spring back,” noted Dr. Kristin Kramer, communications director at the Center for Scientific Review.
“Key to seeing that happens without additional delays is that review of the roughly 27,000 applications NIH receives each council round continues. CSR handles the review of about 75 percent of NIH grant applications, amounting to 62,000 per year and about 20,000 per council cycle. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to very quickly convert our review meetings for the May Advisory Council to virtual formats—64 meetings that were initially planned to take place over a month were converted to virtual meetings. These conversions happened within the span of a week.”
Kramer credits Ashlee Outlaw, lead program analyst for CSR’s events management group, with making this happen.
“Additionally, all of our meetings for the upcoming October Advisory Council will take place as virtual meetings. Many of these are being held as video-assisted meetings. We have relied very heavily on Ashlee to accomplish this. She is an exemplary employee under normal circumstances, but an even greater asset to NIH in these times.”
Added Dr. Ross Shonat, director of CSR’s Division of Physiological and Pathological Sciences, “Ashlee has taken the lead on moving existing video-based meetings (VAM meetings) from physical CSR meeting rooms to a completely online format with staff operating under telework conditions. Importantly, Ashlee recognized the need to quickly train the support staff on a new video platform [Zoom] and proactively reached out and trained nearly everyone—both support and professional staff—as fast as she could. I don’t think there is a single staff member who has not been positively influenced by her actions.
“As we now move towards the next council round,” continued Shonat, “where we are now operating under a 100 percent virtual format, Ashlee continues to train [employees] and develop clear operating procedures so that we will be able to handle the largest increase of VAM meetings that CSR has ever encountered. She is thoughtful, personable and proactive, needing almost no guidance from me, and has received rave reviews for her efforts from across the entire CSR community. I have never been more impressed.”