Tatiana Sarango Gonzalez, Research Coordinator, All of Us Research Program

Pronouns: she/her

Tatiana Sarango GonzalezWhat is your current position?

I am a clinical research coordinator with the All of Us research program! This research is aiming to build one of the largest databases of health information that can be used by researchers to discover how genetics, lifestyle, and environmental aspects may impact health outcomes. Participants complete a one-time in person visit, where we take their physical measurement such as blood pressure and collect blood and urine samples. I’m in charge of running that visit and answering questions that participants have, such as next steps in their participation journey.

When did you start working in SMPH?  At UW?

I joined the University of Wisconsin in March 2021, first as a recruitment and retention tracking specialist for the All of Us program’s call center and then I transitioned to research coordinator in March 2022.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Every day is different. I’ll prepare for my week on Monday or Friday, depending on where I have to go. As a coordinator, I have to travel to various sites on the east or west side, or even as far as Rockford or Fort Atkinson. Many of these places don’t have the materials readily available for us, so if I’m visiting one of those during the week, I’ll prep my cart, which is the whole lab in just four boxes: supplies, equipment, needles, and tourniquets!

If I’m heading to sites for the day, I’ll try to be there around 30 minutes prior to the first appointment to set up the equipment and prep what I need. I’ll run the visits by collecting measurements and would collect blood and urine samples and answer any questions or concerns participants might have. I also process samples in the centrifuge, finalize, and prep samples to be shipped. I would do this for all the visits that I have during the day. At the end of each day, I’ll ship off all the samples to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MI for processing and storage.

What is your workplace superpower?

Organization is one; I play Tetris with my cart to make everything fit! Another would be to soothe and reassure participants, as they can get nervous or have anxiety during the blood draw, so it’s important to help make the experience easier.

A cup with cinnamon tea with a window in the background. What is something personal you keep on your desk? (Feel free to share a photo if you’d like!)

When I’m working from home, I always have a cup of cinnamon tea that we have around the house. At the office, I don’t really have a desk since we’re travelling, but I’ll always have my water bottle.

Where are you from originally?

I was born in an indigenous town called Saraguro, located in Ecuador, and moved to New York when I was 14 and then two years ago, I moved to Madison. Madison has quickly become one of my favorite places. I have made new friends and explored new places. I am also grateful that I was able to find a Kichwa community in Madison me so I’m truly fortunate that I have a second family that I can share my culture with.

Saraguro with mountains in the background.What is your favorite place to spend time in Madison? In the world?

In Madison, it’s James Madison Park; I live close there and enjoy going on walks, watching the sunset, playing instruments, and having picnics with my friends. Outside of Madison, my favorite place will always be my hometown. I really enjoy being there, seeing lots of family, and the unique celebrations that we practice. I’ll hopefully be going back next summer.

What are you reading right now? (Alternatively: What 1-2 books, articles, or podcasts, can you recommend to your SMPH colleagues?)

I listen to many podcasts but not reading anything specific now. Another hobby I have is cooking; I’m always looking for new recipes on Google or TikTok, and at least one meal in my weekly plan will be a new meal. I really enjoy cooking Ecuadorian food and can find a lot of spices/food in Madison. I used to miss that diversity of food in New York, but in Madison, I enjoy making it at home.

Share one fact about yourself that your co-workers might not be aware of.

I really enjoy Disney movies as a comfort, and I enjoy it the most when I’m watching in Spanish.

Optional: Ask yourself one more question and answer it.

I invite everybody to be part of the All of Us research program! It’s an important research initiative and focused on diversity; especially from underrepresented communities that have not been part of research due to historical scenarios/situations.

I’d also like to invite people to an event me and my friends will be doing at the Madison Public Library! It’ll be an educational celebration of our Kichwa community (indigenous nation) in Wisconsin. We’ll be explaining how migration has affected communities back home and how we are dealing with new experiences here in the US, so we are explaining our indigenous perspectives on migration. Often, migration is explained from a Latinx perspective versus an indigenous perspective, so it’s important to explain both parts. You can visit the library website for more info.