Spotlighting the Career of Christine Lincoln, MS, MBA, RN
This Nursing Spotlight is brought to you by CDR Amy Valderrama, CDR Nichole Vetter. LCDR Allison Gallen and LTJG Alyssa Givens
Christine Lincoln began her career in nursing at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1989 after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Maryland. She found the NIH a great place to work. It was ahead of its time in the late eighties, equipped with computers for charting and had a high number of bachelors-prepared nursing staff.
As a clinical nurse at the NIH, Ms. Lincoln worked with pediatric oncology and AIDS patients who were undergoing biomedical research. She worked with infants through adults who either had HIV, cancer or both. Her experience included complex and diverse research protocols comprised of Phase 1, 2, and 3 drug trials. She administered chemotherapeutic agents, vesicants and intrathecal medications, anti-retrovirals, managed experimental drug side effects; and assisted with research data collection and documentation. She states that the children were great to work with and had wisdom beyond their years. When she asked a 13 year old patient about why he was willing to try a Phase 1 therapy, his response was, “Even if this drug doesn’t help me, I may be able to help another kid in the future to get better”.
While at NIH, Ms. Lincoln received many Citations of Excellence in Nursing awards, and the Primary Nurse Team Award recognized by the Chief of Cancer Nursing Service, in 1994.
After obtaining a Master’s degree in Nursing Administration from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore in December 1995, Ms. Lincoln made the decision to leave clinical practice to work for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She has been a Senior Regulatory Health Project Manager with the FDA for 20 years; working in four different Divisions/Offices during her tenure at the FDA (Medical Imaging and Radiopharmaceuticals, Antivirals, Special Pathogens, and Oncology).
Working in the Division of Antivirals was a wonderful experience as they were approving the first in class anti-retrovirals used to treat HIV in record time (42 days). These medications were the same drugs that she had administered to the children at the NIH which helped them improve immensely, gaining developmental milestones.
She was able to witness the full research cycle: from test tube, Phase 1 administration, Phase 2 and 3, and then finally a New Drug Application (NDA) submission to the FDA. The protocols she had worked on at the NIH were being used to support the NDA approval process. Ms. Lincoln worked on many of the applications that put the pediatric study information into the labels of the newly approved anti-retroviral drugs.
During her tenure in the Division of Antivirals, Ms. Lincoln received numerous awards for Project Management Excellence. She also received an Award of Merit from Dr. Jane E. Henney, the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in 1999 for exceptional performance in the initiation of an immediate, national and international response to the shortage of an important AIDS medication.
Currently, Ms. Lincoln works in the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products (OHOP). When a new drug is approved for an oncology indication she often is reminded of the children at NIH, who had those diseases. Therefore, OHOP drug approvals are very meaningful to her. Part of Ms. Lincoln’s responsibilities in OHOP are to organize workshops and Advisory Committee meetings to improve pediatric oncology drug approvals. Oncology drug sponsors are invited to the FDA in the early stages of their drug development programs to discuss issues relating to the development of these products for possible use in pediatrics.
The FDA continues to be a wonderful career path; after 20 years with the Agency, there is always something new to learn. Ms. Lincoln continues to enjoy her long-term friendships with NIH nurses she worked with in the past; many of whom have also made the decision to work at the FDA. She recommends to, “Always keep your nursing network strong! This has been very important to me over my 27 years in nursing. Four of the last five jobs that I have had, came about because other nursing colleagues informed me about the new job opportunities that were available. I always like to pay it forward and tell other nursing colleagues about job opportunities that may be right for them”. Ms. Lincoln has a life-long understanding of nursing, as her mother, now retired, had a 45 year nursing career. The tradition of nursing in her family also continues to the next generation, as Ms. Lincoln’s niece graduated from La Salle University in May and will be entering the U.S. Public Health Service as a Nurse at the NIH.
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