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Dr. Helene Starks, our Academic Research Coach, is here to facilitate success in your scholarly activities.

She can help you plan your research and quality improvement projects, as well as facilitate the methodological, statistical, and research implementation aspects of your work.


  • Study Design: Study design and project development, developing a testable research hypothesis, determining inclusion criteria and sampling strategies, and designing quality improvement and patient safety studies.
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB): Discerning if IRB review is needed, identification of the right forms, and review of applications and modifications.
  • Study Infrastructure & Support: Input into developing study protocols and assistance in getting volunteers to help with study activities.
  • Data Collection: Input on surveys and data collection tools and REDCap database support. (REDCap is a tool that facilitates data entry of data collected from study participants such as in-person surveys.)
  • Statistical Analysis: Assist with statistical analysis plan, conduct basic power calculations, guide biostatistics consultations, guide data cleaning for statistical analysis, and conduct statistical analyses.
  • Products (Abstracts, Posters, Presentations, Manuscripts): Provide review and input with a special emphasis on methods and results sections.
  • Resources and More: The ARC can assist with identifying training opportunities and field requests for small research resources. For example, software needed for data analysis or procurement of data from Amalga. Additional services not covered here but within the realm of the ARC’s expertise are openly considered and ideas are encouraged.

Initial Project Consultations

The ARC welcomes consultations to brainstorm, plan, design, and discuss research ideas at any stage of development. There is no limit on the number of coaching sessions for initial consultations.

To start, we ask you to complete a short project description form to learn about your project and how best to help. If available, please also send grants, draft papers, or project outlines (which may substitute for the intake form). At a minimum, a short summary of the idea (half a page) with key questions should be sent to the ARC 1–2 business days before the meeting occurs. Materials about the project help make the meeting more productive. Please send all inquiries and materials to Helene Starks.

Once the ARC has received information about your project description, she will follow up to set a meeting at a time and place that is convenient for you. She will come to your office or meet by phone or Zoom. Some simple questions may be addressed via email rather than a meeting.

Ongoing Consults

The ARC encourages and supports ongoing consults for different phases of projects from project development, grant writing, IRB, data collection forms, data entry, statistical analyses, identifying volunteers, etc. Phases that require more than several hours of work on the part of ARC may be considered in-depth support (see below). Most services provided are expected to fall into the ongoing consults category. A description of the project (if not previously provided) and of the current issues provided to the ARC 1–2 business days before the meeting will make the consult more productive.


The goal of the ARC program is to support your scholarly work. Concerns about authorship should not deter faculty from seeking assistance from the ARC. Sometimes it is appropriate to include the ARC as an author on your project (i.e., abstracts, posters, oral presentations, manuscripts, and other products). It can sometimes be difficult to know when a “coaching” role has become an “authorship” role. There are four generally accepted criteria that determine if the ARC should be included as an author (based on the ICMJE guidelines):

  1. The ARC has made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; and
  2. Drafting the work or revising it is critically for important intellectual content; and
  3. Final approval of the version to be published; and
  4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Initial consults do not require adding the ARC as a co-author to a project. In addition, the ARC provides a focused review of an abstract, poster, or manuscript, or facilitating IRB approval would not typically merit including the ARC as a co-author. The best strategy is to discuss authorship and the threshold for ARC authorship at the beginning of any stage in the project. When the contributions of the ARC meet commonly accepted standards for authorship it is important to include the ARC as a co-author just as you would any other collaborator.

Order of authorship is at the discretion of the PI since the PI is in the best position to know the contributions of all the collaborators and to make this determination. If there are any questions or concerns about authorship, feel free to bring these up to the ARC or the ARC’s supervisor, Paul Cornia.

Learn more

Dr. Helene StarksDr. Helene Starks earned her BA in Communications from the UW, an MPH from UC Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in Health Services Research at the University of Washington.

Since joining the UW SOM faculty in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities in 2005, she has taught methods courses and conducted education, intervention, and outcomes research, and developed a rich network of collaborators through adjunct appointments in Health Services, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics. She served as the Director of Metrics, Quality, and Evaluation for the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence for 6 years.

Her research and mentoring experience is extensive, including familiarity with a broad array of research methodologies and topics. She has a history of productive relationships with learners who span the gamut from undergraduate to faculty positions. 

Learn more about her services by downloading the ARC Flier (PDF)


Contact Helene to set up a coaching consultation today. If you are ready to meet with Helene, please complete a project description form and send it with your consultation request email.