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STORIES

Research Participants Find Mentorship and Inspiration to Pursue Career in Medicine

STORIES

Research Participants Find Mentorship and Inspiration to Pursue Career in Medicine

Valentina Shakhnovich, MD
Gastroenterologist; Clinician-Scientist; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine
Full Biography

The first time Jansynn Radford and Chance Friesen participated in medical research, they were just a couple of kids in middle school.

Valentina Shakhnovich, MD, Physician-Scientist at Children’s Mercy with the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Innovation, was looking for volunteers to test two different devices that measured metabolic rate, the rate at which the body burns energy and calories.

Her findings would help with future research on how the body metabolizes, or processes, medications in children of different age and size.

That’s where Jansynn and Chance came in. Both had connections to Children’s Mercy and the Gastroenterology Division. Jansynn’s mom is nurse practitioner Kim Radford; and Chance’s dad is Craig Friesen, MD, Division Director of Gastroenterology. Kim signed up Jansynn and her brother to help out with research, and Dr. Friesen enrolled Chance and his twin, too.

Even though their role in that study only took a day, it made a lasting impression on their young minds. “I remember Dr. Shakhnovich had a medical student with her who was helping with the research,” Jansynn said. “I was already interested in science and medicine, and I thought it was cool to see a medical student in that role.”

Fast Forward …


For many kids, that might have been the end of the story, but not for Jansynn and Chance. Read more about how they followed their instincts, pursuing their interest in science, research, and then medicine.