IDCRC Admin Profile: Barbara Walsh


Barbara Walsh has served as the IDCRC program manager since December 2019 and will be retiring from Emory this month after 10 years of service. Barbara is an integral part of the IDCRC team and was a part of the original group that helped put together the initial proposal and built the IDCRC from the ground up. David Stephens, MD, Contact PI, LG Chair, Kathleen Neuzil, MD, PI, LG Co-Chair, and Sidnee Young, Financial Director, Emory University, have worked closely with Barbara throughout her time with the IDCRC and shared the following sentiments about their colleague. 

“Thank you for these many years of support for the IDCRC and Emory! Your dedication and accomplishments in developing and launching the IDCRC, the demanding work during COVID-19, and overall promoting IDCRC’s research programs are greatly appreciated. You have been super to work with and I immensely thank you for all your efforts! All the best and keep us updated as you embark on more ornithology!” – David Stephens, MD

“It is not an exaggeration to say that the IDCRC would not be where it is today without Barbara’s tenacity, wisdom, and patience. She has been my “go-to” for all things IDCRC from the beginning. I have enjoyed working with her immensely and wish her all the best in the future.” – Kathleen Neuzil, MD

“There are so many memorable things to share about Barbara. She is an avid birder who could spend hours discussing the birds she photographed. She loves animals, among her favorites are the giraffe and the sloth. Another hobby of hers is traveling – she could teach lessons on places to go and how best to get there in style. Among other things, her professional legacy with the IDCRC may be noted with her contributions toward writing the original application, developing top-notch slide decks that convey IDCRC initiatives and progress to various stakeholders, and maintaining the ever popular and constantly evolving tracking spreadsheet. Among other things, her colleagues may best remember Barbara’s hilarious sense of humor, her unabashed personality, her wisdom (along with her willingness to share it), and her sincere friendship. She will be measurably missed both professionally and personally.” – Sidnee Young

We thank her for her dedication and commitment to the IDCRC. The IDCRC team wishes her all the best in her future endeavors.

Briefly tell us about your path to the IDCRC.

In October 2018, I was working as a program manager in Dr. Stephens' office when he asked if I could take on the additional challenge of helping him write a major grant proposal. We worked on the proposal through February 2019. When we were awarded the grant in December 2019, Dr. Stephens asked me to continue with the administrative core and assist him and the rest of the Leadership Group in "standing up" the consortium infrastructure. At that time, I planned to stay for another six months and retire but then COVID-19 happened.

Describe your role with the IDCRC.

Initially, the administrative core was Sidnee Paschal Young and me. Our primary challenges were to put processes and tools in place to support the network and leadership team. Sidnee was the Administrative Director, managing budgets, subcontracts, and leading meetings. Together we tracked the concepts, conducted budget planning, and wrote project plans, project proposals, MOPs, and RPPRs. I also had the opportunity to lead the IDCRC team in planning the first three Annual Meetings. 

Recently, I have been responsible for tracking our commitments against the IDCRC set aside. I also have been supporting the Collaboration and Publications KFC with the development of the publications MOP and tracking our published manuscripts.

What has been the most impactful or highlight of your IDCRC work?

Two things. The people I have had the privilege of working with and the incredibly important work they do, especially amid the pandemic. And then when we pulled together the first Moderna trial and saw the first results, suddenly there was hope! I will never forget being present for that miracle.

What is a strength or example of the importance of the IDCRC during the pandemic and beyond?

The ability to quickly mobilize the best infectious disease clinical research teams in the U.S. to conduct COVID trials at (what we all quickly tired of hearing) "warp speed" is the greatest example I have seen of the power of this team. Now I'm seeing the breadth of the possibilities to help the world as IDCRC scientists are starting to reach into other major problems by developing new solutions. 

This year’s Annual Meeting was truly inspiring, hearing what may be possible in the future for the IDCRC. 

What are your plans for the future?

It will surprise no one that I plan to travel and to photograph birds everywhere I go. This fall is Kauai, then next spring the Everglades and the Dry Tortugas, and next summer is Alaska. Just the start!  Thanks to all who have offered me recommendations, places to stay, and bird guides, and I am planning those trips for the future.  

And many thanks to all of you who have appreciated the birds I have had the opportunity to share on Zoom. The bird for today is a snowy owl, photographed at the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam.