Alumni in Action: Noah Carton Rossen ’18 conducts important COVID-19 research

Rossen and colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City conducted important research on COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic.

During the height of the pandemic, Noah Carton Rossen ’18 and colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City conducted important research on COVID-19 in a high-stakes environment.

Read below as Rossen shares the challenges of conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What has your role been at Weill Cornell Medicine throughout the pandemic?

I’m a clinical research coordinator at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. I work for the clinical and translation science center (CTSC) and on the clinical and translational research unit (CTRU). Usually, I am working on a couple of urology studies, a preeclampsia study and a large sample collection/social survey study, etc.

As part of the response to the outbreak, the CTRU team was reassigned to work on COVID-19 studies. My two other direct coworkers and I are being used as resources for PhDs and MDs from the hospital network to help with all of the new COVID-19 research projects. The process of starting new studies and getting IRB approval normally takes several months but everything is on an accelerated time frame due to the urgency that the PIs (Principle investigators) have referred to as “wartime medicine.”

How has COVID-19 impacted your personal and professional life?

Well, beyond the classic being stuck at home during quarantine and having to make those lifestyle changes, the hardest part was working with the COVID-19 data. We were reviewing the charts of all the people that came to our hospital with COVID-19, and at the peak in the spring that was hundreds a day. We were extracting data for a risk model.

I found that fairly stressful because it was an all-hours thing, and we would get random data dumps to sort through seven days a week. But beyond that, it made me realize that COVID-19 was so much more than numbers because I had to see and read about every person. And there were a lot of people dying, including people my age and children. Some of whom did not have any known underlying health issues. That was the most stressful part. The expectations to get it right quickly and knowing that the speed and accuracy with which we worked may impact people surviving.

Overall, it’s been a really hard year, but I am thankful I was in a position that allowed me to try to help. It gave me purpose in an otherwise bleak year.

How has your Elon education impacted your career?

Elon really set the foundation of everything I have been able to accomplish. I was fairly aimless entering Elon, and all the opportunities sparked my academic career. It provided me opportunities to work with professors and take on projects that I otherwise may not have. I never would have flourished without the culture and opportunities at Elon.

Rossen has since transitioned to a new role in the hospital as a senior research coordinator in the Department of Surgery: Division of Trauma, Burns and Acute/Critical Care. There he focuses on COVID-19-, intensive care unit- and trauma-related studies.

About this series: The Elon Alumni in Action series explores the stories of university graduates who are doing important and uplifting work in their careers and their communities. To share the names of alumni you think should be considered for this series, please fill out the Alumni in Action nomination form.