Jennifer McCafferty-Fernandez, PhD, CCEP, CHC, CHPC, CHRC
Director of the Research Institute, Nicklaus Children's Hospital
Dr. Jennifer McCafferty-Fernandez earned her PhD from the University of Miami in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology where her research centered on transcriptional gene regulation in hormone sensitive and hormone resistant prostate cancers. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Sylvester Cancer Center, she shifted her focus to defining mechanisms of chemoresistance in hematological cancers. These studies also involved translational research projects including pre-clinical studies and clinical trial design. Following her post-doctoral training, Dr. McCafferty-Fernandez left academic science and worked as a Scientific Analyst and in-house cancer biology expert for a boutique law firm in New York City. In 2005, she joined the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation as the Scientific Director where she was responsible for research communications and managing career development programs for post-doctoral fellows, early career basic scientists and physician-scientists. She was also active in the Health Research Alliance, a consortium of private grant makers in the biomedical sciences.
From 2007 – 2012, Dr. McCafferty-Fernandez served in a variety of roles including the Deputy Executive Dean for Research at the Miller School of Medicine and the acting Executive Director of the Office of Research Compliance for the University. Her primary areas of research operations included oversight and management of the internal grant programs and research communications as well as providing central coordination of shared/core resources. In addition, she worked closely with faculty to develop new and review existing interdisciplinary institutes and centers both at the medical school and across the University. Her research compliance experience spanned good clinical practice (GCP) auditing, export control, conflict of interest, research misconduct, and compliance committee support (IACUC, animal program, biosafety, embryonic stem cells).
In March 2012, Dr. McCafferty-Fernandez was tapped as the first Chief Medical Compliance & HIPAA Privacy Officer for the University of Miami Health System and Miller School of Medicine. Under her direction, the UHealth and Miller School healthcare compliance efforts were centralized under the Medical Compliance Services umbrella. Dr. McCafferty’s efforts focused on initiatives that supported a culture of accountability, ethics and integrity across the Health System and School. Day-to-day responsibilities included management and oversight of the UHealth and Miller School of Medicine Compliance Program including professional, hospital, and research billing compliance, patient privacy and security, as well as federal and state healthcare regulations related to the clinical practice, hospitals, Tissue Bank, and GMP facilities. Dr. McCafferty was also responsible for coordinating with the University Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer to assure alignment with the University Compliance and Ethics Program. In November 2013, Dr. McCafferty was named Assistant Provost for Research of the University of Miami where she focused on institutional governance and policy development for the research mission across the University.
Dr. McCafferty-Fernandez currently serves as the Director of the Miami Children’s Research Institute & Office of Sponsored Programs where she is responsible for research infrastructure and compliance at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Miami Children’s Health System, including oversight of the AAHRPP-accredited human research protections program and clinical trial operations units. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University. In addition, she leads the MCHS Personalized Medicine Initiative and serves as the Nicklaus Children’s Principal Investigator (PI) on the Sanford Children’s Genomic Medicine Consortium. She is also PI or Co-Investigator for several ongoing research studies including OneFlorida, a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) funded clinical data network. She is an alumna of the Graduate Research Ethics Education (GREE) program sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Indiana University and is a member of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE), the Society for Corporate Compliance (SCCE), and the Healthcare Compliance Association (HCCA). She is active in the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) compliance initiatives and was appointed to the Steering Committee for the Compliance Officers Forum (COF) in 2015. With certifications in healthcare compliance (CHC), research compliance (CHRC), privacy (CHPC) and corporate ethics (CCEP), Dr. McCafferty-Fernandez has served on the faculty at the University of Miami as adjunct faculty at Barry University and as an invited speaker for her expertise in cancer biology, career development, ethics as well as research and healthcare compliance issues.