Home > Blog > November 2020 > Tucson Graduate Plays Major Role in COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Tucson Graduate Plays Major Role in COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Posted: November 18, 2020 by Diane Smith
Image of Yvonne De Los Reyes, Tucson Campus Medical Assistant Graduate
Yvonne De Los Reyes, Tucson Campus Medical Assistant Graduate

COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country and talk of a new vaccine is heating up. Just this week, biotech giant, Moderna made national news, reporting promising early results from its Coronavirus vaccine trial. More than 100 clinics across the country have participated in Moderna’s trials. One of the top enrolling sites is Tucson’s Quality of Life Medical & Research Center. Pima Medical Institute alumna, Yvonne De Los Reyes is the Clinical Research Coordinator there. She told Tucson ABC affiliate KGUN News that it just might be the most important role she has taken on in her nearly 20-year career.

De Los Reyes is a 2007 graduate of the Medical Assistant certificate program at Pima Medical’s Tucson campus. She says her story is a little different from the traditional college student. De Los Reyes said, “I was already in the medical field working as a receptionist when I decided to attend Pima Medical for the medical assistant program. While I was in school, I already knew a lot about the medical field and I was even trained on how to draw blood. I enjoyed my time at Pima Medical and enjoyed helping my classmates out with school work and with proper techniques.”  

After Pima Medical, De Los Reyes furthered her education by becoming a certified clinical research coordinator, along with various other trainings. Her education at Pima Medical was the foundation she built upon to reach her current role.

As Clinical Research Coordinator, De Los Reyes is in charge of recruiting participants, coordinating staff, lab tests, collecting data and documenting each patient. It is a tall order, and one she is proud to lead. She told KGUN in a recent interview, “It’s got to be precise. It’s a lot of patients, but at the end of the day it will be worth it.”

De Los Reyes has coordinated more than 100 clinical trials in all indications including a few cancer trials. However, she says this trial has been the most impactful so far. “Moderna has definitely been the trial that may have the biggest impact on my career as a coordinator, more so even during a pandemic,” she added.

Pima Medical Institute was founded in Tucson in 1972. Since it opened its doors, faculty and staff have been dedicated to providing quality career education. The medical career college now has 18 campuses across the Western United States as well as a robust online education division. Success of former students like De Los Reyes is something many have grown accustom to seeing.

“Yvonne’s career achievements fill me with pride, but I am not surprised,” said Fred Freedman, President and CEO, Pima Medical Institute, “From the day we launched our first program, our mission has been to provide students with a quality medical career education. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to providing hands-on training employers have come to expect from our graduates. It is rewarding to watch so many thrive in their chosen fields.”

Pima Medical Institute boasts more than 138,000 graduates and counting, many of whom are on the front lines of the current pandemic. Those interested in reading more about our alumni, or what programs we offer can go to pmi.edu.

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