The Specialty Pod represents a group of research staff dedicated to the coordination of diverse research projects. For a description of all specialty studies open at Renown Health, including Neurology, Pulmonology, and all Others, visit:

Specialty Pod

Alanna Jacobs – Lead Clinical Research Coordinator

Alanna​ received her bachelor’s in Psychology and master’s in Clinical Neuropsychology from Leiden University in Holland. During her master’s training, she kicked-off her research experience with a research internship with ENCORE at Erasmus MC/Sophia kinderziekenhuis in Rotterdam studying cognitive neurodevelopmental disorders. For the past five years, she has been working full-time as a clinical research coordinator in various clinical trials, and her newest role is here at Renown as lead CRC of the specialty pod. The research her pod focuses on is best described as ‘miscellaneous’ and spans multiple departments, but has strong collaborative efforts with the departments of neurology, pulmonology, and endocrinology.

Hobbies: Trying to make her band more well-known than Bill and Ted’s, going to the dog park with her red heeler (Darby Crash), fighting Alzheimer’s disease.​

Vivian Cruz – Clinical Research Coordinator

Vivian transitioned from pre-clinical development to clinical research at Renown, in April 2019. Vivian has 7 years of research experience. Prior to her current role she worked for two pharmaceutical companies as a scientist. Her background as a scientist suits her well for this position as she is curious and ready to solve problems. She is excited to do more translational work in her new role as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Specialty POD. Vivian earned her Master of Science in Biotechnology and Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from the University of Nevada Reno. She is a qualified Spanish Medical interpreter and a qualified Phlebotomist. Vivian is thrilled to be part of the clinical research department as it embraces her passion for science, her interest in the medical field and helping her community. A fun fact about Vivian is, she loves to travel, she has been to 14 countries, and she loves learning about new cultures and trying new food.​

Kristen Hess – Clinical Research Coordinator

Kristen​ has five years of research experience, with her previous work focusing on healthcare services optimization, as well as both infectious and chronic diseases. Kristen enjoys working in research because she is passionate about improving health outcomes at both the individual and population levels by exploring novel approaches in healthcare. She is excited to be working with a variety of different medical specialties in the Specialty Pod, and continues to expand her expertise in her role as a Clinical Research Coordinator. ​Kristen earned her Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan, and her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is a certified and licensed phlebotomist with the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and is a Certified Associate in Project Management through the Project Management Institute. Outside of work, Kristen enjoys hiking with her two dogs and playing the piano.​

Michael “Spencer” Spencer – Clinical Research Coordinator

Spencer has been in Clinical Research for over four years working on both sponsor and site end of the industry. His primary focus is Oncology and has also worked on other therapeutic areas such as infectious diseases, CNS, and medical devices. Spencer earned his BSc from University of Houston and currently a graduate student at Arizona State University, majoring in Clinical Research Mgmt -Regulatory Science. He enjoys new challenges and hopes to learn more about other specialties within Renown as he continues to work towards becoming an expert in his role here as well. Fun fact about Spencer is, he is originally from Nigeria and travel to different country every year since he migrated to the US in 2011.​